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Supreme Court grants interim bail to 13 juvenile prisoners seeking immediate release

Senior Advocate Garima Prashad, counsel for the state of Uttar Pradesh is directed to submit the affidavit and application pertaining to the verification details of 13 prisoners.

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The Supreme Court today has granted interim bail with immediate effect to 13 juvenile prisoners, who were seeking their release immediately against their incarceration ranging from 14 to 22 years in jail despite the clear finding of the Juvenile Justice Board that they were juveniles at the time of the crime.

No objection in granting interim bail on the personal bond to the 13 prisoners with immediate effect, the bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice V. Ramasubramanian said. 

The learned counsel for petitioners submitted that “previously the court had issued notice and this is the case of illegal detention.” Senior Advocate Garima Prashad, counsel for the state of Uttar Pradesh, is directed to submit the affidavit and application pertaining to the verification details of 13 prisoners.

Further, she submitted that “the facts of the case are seen by the state and they may be granted interim bail.”

According to the petition, a bare perusal of Section 7(a) of Juvenile Justice Act 2000 for a claim of juvenility to be raised before any court at any stage even after final disposal of a case and Section 20 JJ Act 2000 enables the Court to consider and determine the juvenility of a person even after conviction by the regular court and also empowers the Court, while maintaining the conviction to set aside the sentence imposed and forward the case to the Juvenile Board is made.

The petitioners moved to the apex court by virtue of the instant writ petitions seek to highlight unchallenged rulings from Juvenile Justice Board wherein the petitioners have been declared Juveniles with clear findings that they were all below the age limit of 18 years, yet no steps have been taken to release them forthwith.

In the background of the matter, the petitioners mentioned that in 2012, the Allahabad High Court while entertaining a PIL had noted that there were many prisoners who were languishing in different jails in the State of Uttar Pradesh who were juvenile and passed directions to hold an inquiry by the concerned Juvenile Justice Board for determination of their age as on the date of the respected incident. 

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As per the directions of the High Court, Juvenile Justice Board constituted which after the inquiry held as many as 13 prisoners who were languishing in Agra Central Jail were below the age of 18 years during the commission of the offense and held them juvenile as per the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) (Amendment) Act, 2006.

The plea mentioned that it is unfortunate that despite a categorical order declaring these petitioners as Juvenile, the petitioners are languishing in Jail, Agra having undergone custody ranging from 14 years to 22 years. 

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