A Supreme Court lawyer in Patna has written to the Chief Justice of Patna High Court, Amreshwar Pratap Sahi, to take cognisance of what's happening in Aurangabad, Bihar after a Firstpost article pointed out that the Bihar Police had arrested 13 minors during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests. These minor were identified as "adults" during protests on 21 December, 2019 after protests turned violent in Aurangabad. All arrested minors are Muslim youths, according to the article.
In a letter, the apex court advocate, Anshu Kapoor, has asked the Patna High Court, to take notice of the matter and quoted the Firstpost article, pointing out the contradictions in the age mentioned in the FIR and the age mentioned in the Board Certificate of the arrested minors. The letter further says, "This has been deliberately done by the police, which in many cases, has arrested the children from inside their homes. This appears to be motivated at spoiling the career of the young children and make them practically unemployable due to pendency of criminal cases. At any rate, this reflects legal malice if not actual malice."
According to the report, on 21 December, Aurangabad had observed a protest at Ramesh Chowk, where most of the gatherings and speeches are usually held. Rashtriya Janata Dal and its allies had called for a bandh to rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). But the peaceful protests turned violent near the end.
When contacted, Aurangabad SP Dipak Baranwal said that the case is an "old one now" and he "does not remember the details".
The Supreme Court advocate called the situation "extremely distressful" and said that these arrested were in violation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) 2015.
According to PRS Legislative, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) 2015, permits juveniles between the ages of 16-18 years to be tried as adults for heinous offences. Also, any 16-18 year old, who commits a lesser serious offence, may be tried as an adult only if he is apprehended after the age of 21 years.
Firstpost had earlier reported that Bihar Police had altered the age of two minor boys and passed them off as adults in the First Information Report (FIR). The next hearing is on 28 January when the Juvenile Justice Board will decide on their age.
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Updated Date: Jan 23, 2020 08:12:55 IST