Kathua rape case: Accused juvenile’s bail plea rejected

JAMMU/KATHUA: The Kathua Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) on Tuesday rejected the bail application of the juvenile, main accused in the rape-murder case, saying “the bail application has no merit at this stage”.

editorial@tribune.com

Tribune News Service

Jammu/Kathua, April 24

The Kathua Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) on Tuesday rejected the bail application of the juvenile, main accused in the rape-murder case, saying “the bail application has no merit at this stage”.

The court, however, observed that to equate denial of bail upfront with “proven complicity of an offender” in the crime was “equally preposterous”.

It said the juvenile could receive developmentally appropriate dispositions for his reform at an observation home as his background, as mapped out in the chargesheet, was ex facie intriguing.

Hearing defence lawyer and public prosecutors, CJM AS Langeh observed, “Courts must be sensitive in dealing with a juvenile who is involved in heinous cases like rape, gangrape and murder. The criminal act attributed to the petitioner herein, by all conceivable standards, seems to be prima facie a grave and heinous criminal activity and not a juvenile offence.”

The court said the petitioner was a juvenile and his age, as on March 27, was less than 16 years. “Pursuant to directions of the High Court, the age of the petitioner was directed to be ascertained by this court in terms of Section 8 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013. Accordingly, an inquiry was conducted and the petitioner was found to be less than 16 years of age,” the court said.

The Crime Branch had contested the claim of the petitioner that he was juvenile, stating his age to be more than 19 years, as opined by the medical board constituted for age determination during investigation. The Crime Branch, while challenging the bail plea of the juvenile, said he was involved in crime against women and did not deserve to be given concessional bail.

A juvenile was among the eight persons, including two SPOs, an ASI and a Head Constable, arrested in connection with the alleged rape and murder of a minor in Kathua’s Rasana village. The Crime Branch had claimed that the victim was raped and murdered to scare the Bakerwal community and dislodge them from the village. Two policemen had already moved the High Court, seeking CBI inquiry and quashing of the Crime Branch probe.

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