Srinagar- A Juvenile Justice Board here on Wednesday denied bail to a teenage boy who had eloped with a 15-year old girl, saying bail would "defeat the ends of justice".
The boy, not even 16 years of age and referred to as a Child in Conflict with Law (CICL) in legal parlance, was alleged to be in "serious romantic and sexual relationship" with the girl who used to live in his neighbourhood.
"Subsequently, they fled to Jammu and stayed in a hotel. Then a friend of CICL called him and told him that his father had been arrested and suggested he come back. He was accompanied by his uncle from Jammu to Kulgam (in south Kashmir) and then they surrendered," the order noted.
The board went through the reports of the Legal Cum Probation Officer (LCPO) of Srinagar associated with the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) which interviewed the girl and the LCPO of Kulgam who interviewed the boy.
"A combined reading of both the reports would reveal that CICL was having a relationship with a prosecutrix but the parents of prosecutrix did not accept the same and were against their relationship which ultimately became a reason for the delinquent behaviour of the CICL. Both would submit that CICL needs proper rehabilitation and counselling so as to bring proper change in his behaviour," the order said.
During the investigation, the girl said she went with the boy after he allegedly threatened to kill her if she did not follow him, it said.
The Board noted that there were certain "aggravating factors", including the removal of the victim without her free will from her lawful guardianship by issuing threats to eliminate her and despite refusal of her parents to approve the alleged relationship.
It said these factors pointed to the fact that the CICL needs reformation of highest degree so as to make him "understand the norms of society and laws of land are to be adhered to".
"The release at this juncture of CICL on bail will not serve the ends of justice. Rather, his placement at Observation Home, Harwan, Srinagar is in his best interest at this juncture as he has shown signs of reformation which shall continue for the time being," it said.
The Board concluded that as the girl is also a child, it is not inclined to grant bail to the CICL at this stage.
"Taking into considerations the nature and gravity of allegations and overall circumstances, the Board is of the opinion that release at this stage of CICL on bail would defeat the ends of justice. Accordingly the instant bail application is dismissed and shall be attached with the Final Report of the instant case. Applicant/CICL may renew his prayer for bail before this Board after the statement of victim is recorded by the Board during the course of enquiry," it said.
Advocate Mir Naveed Gul appreciated the the Juvenile Justice Board order, saying that the interests of girls need to be protected.
"The order should act as a deterrent to all those who take girls and women for granted," he added.
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