HC Directs Release Of 'Juvenile' After Spending 19 Years In Prison In rape case

HC Directs Release Of 'Juvenile' After Spending 19 Years In Prison In rape case

The man raped a three-year-old girl in his neighbourhood on January 16, 2005

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, March 13, 2024, 03:55 PM IST
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HC Directs Release Of 'Juvenile' After Spending 19 Years In Prison In rape case | Representational Photo

After 19 years of imprisonment, the Bombay High Court has directed release of a 36-year-old rape convict, who was a juvenile at the time of offence in January 2005. The man raped a three-year-old girl in his neighbourhood on January 16, 2005. The special court convicted him on December 9, 2005, sentencing him to life in prison. He did not file an appeal against his conviction. 

In 2019, he approached the state government seeking early release after completing 14 years of imprisonment. However, the same was dismissed in November 2019 citing the gravity of his offence. He challenged this before the high court. Pending hearing in the petition, the man filed an application seeking early release stating that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence. He relied on the School Leaving Certificate issued by the headmaster of a Primary School in Bankati Vasti, Uttar Pradesh.

Affidavit filed in August 2023

The court, in July 2022, asked the state to verify his claim. Following this, the Palghar police visited his school to conduct the inquiry with regard to his school leaving certificate. The state filed an affidavit in August 2023 confirming his date of birth, as per the school leaving certificate, was April 16, 1988. “It is categorically stated that the date of birth of the Petitioner is 16th April, 1988,” a bench of Justices Ajey Gadkari and Shyam Chandak said recently. 

The man’s advocate MM Chaudhari argued that he had not filed an appeal against his conviction and moreover, he was only 16 years and 9 months at the time of the offence. Hence, he would be covered as per the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. The Act provides that after ascertaining that the alleged crime has been committed by a juvenile, the Juvenile Justice Board can direct that the juvenile be sent to a special home for a period of three years or until s/he ceases to be a juvenile, whichever is later.

The bench agreed with the arguments and directed his release, if not required in any other case. The bench said: “It is an admitted fact that the Applicant has already undergone more than three years of actual imprisonment. In view thereof, the Applicant/Petitioner is entitled to be released from jail forthwith.” 

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