Gurugram school murder case: Punjab & Haryana High Court turns down bail plea of accused student

The petitioner, who was a student of Class 11 of a prominent Gurugram-based private school, has been charged with the murder of a seven-year-old child inside the school washroom in 2017

Gurugram school murder case: Punjab & Haryana High Court turns down bail plea of accused student

NH Web Desk

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday dismissed the bail plea filed by the school student accused in the 2017 Gurugram private school murder case, has reported.

The petitioner, who was a student of Class 11, has been charged with the murder of a seven-year-old child inside the school washroom.

The Principal Magistrate, Juvenile Justice Board, Gurugram had earlier declined the grant of bail to the accused. Thereafter, the Appellate Court/Additional Sessions Judge, Gurugram also dismissed the appeal moved challenging the Board's decision.

The High Court has now dismissed the revision plea challenging these orders. The revision plea was moved on the ground that these orders denying bail were passed while touching upon the merits of the case.

On Wednesday, Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan passed the order, while noting that the accused school student had to be treated as an adult, in line with Supreme Court orders passed on the issue.

The Supreme Court had, in its orders passed in February 2019 and in April this year, stated that the accused was to be “treated as an adult” for the purpose of deciding on bail.

The High Court, therefore, stated there was little scope for it to ascertain whether bail could be granted under Section 12 (grant of bail to a juvenile-accused) of the Juvenile Justice Act.

"Though it is well settled principle of law that an application for bail filed by a person who is above 16 years of age and is alleged to have committed a heinous crime …, pending preliminary assessment by the [Juvenile Justice] Board, can be allowed; however, this Court is not inclined to grant any relief to the petitioner, in view of the order dated 28.02.2019 passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, directing that for deciding the bail application, the petitioner be treated as an 'Adult', therefore, there is little scope for this Court to find out whether the petitioner can be granted the relief under Section 12 of the Act," the court observed.

The High Court, in dismissing the plea of the accused for bail, relied upon detailed orders that had been passed by the Supreme Court and the Juvenile Justice Board that is overseeing the investigation in the case.

Senior Advocate Rupinder Khosla appearing for the petitioner “Bholu” (the name the accused has been assigned with by the Supreme Court to conceal identity) argued that the petitioner was living in difficult circumstances in the children’s home he was detained in. It was submitted that he was suffering from ill-health. Grievance over the delay in commencing proceedings against the accused on account of pending appeals was also raised.

The High Court, however, quoted two medical reports in countering the claims of the petitioner's ill-health. It further clarified that the delay in commencing with the trial could not be a ground for bail.

"The delay in disposal of the trial on account of the pendency of bail/revision/SLP before the Higher Courts, wherein status quo has been ordered … cannot be taken as a ground to grant the concession of bail to the petitioner," Justice Sangwan said.

Furthermore, the Court noted, "The prosecution has cited certain witnesses, who are minors including the sister of the deceased and therefore, possibility of tampering the evidence, cannot be ruled out, at this stage in view of the totality of circumstances and the affidavit filed by the CBI."

In this backdrop, the Court concluded that there was "no ground to grant the concession of bail" to the accused and dismissed the revision plea.

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