SC seeks response from UP on plea to release 13 prisoners who were declared juveniles

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New Delhi, Jul 1 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the Uttar Pradesh government on a plea seeking direction to release 13 prisoners who are lodged in Agra central jail for periods ranging from around 14 to 22 years on the ground that they have been declared to be juveniles at the time of commission of offences.

A bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and V Ramasubramanian issued notice to the state government on the plea and posted it for hearing on July 8.

The plea, filed through advocate Rishi Malhotra, said the 13 prisoners are languishing in jail despite the fact that they have been declared to be below 18 years of age at the time of commission of offence by the Juvenile Justice Board.

'The miseries are further compounded by the fact that these petitioners who are languishing in Agra central jail have already undergone judicial incarceration for periods ranging from 14 years to 22 years,” the plea said.

It said the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act stipulates a maximum period of incarceration of three years and that too in juvenile home.

'However, here is the case where the petitioners languish in hardcore jail amongst hardcore criminals thereby completely negating the purpose and objects of Juvenile Justices Act,” it said.

The plea alleged that these petitioners, having being declared as juveniles at the time of commission of offences, have undergone illegal detention and they should be released forthwith.

It said that Juvenile Justice Board, in its orders from February 2017 to March this year, had categorically held that all these petitioners were below the age of 18 years on the date of commission of offences.

'It is unfortunate that despite a categorical order declaring these petitioners as juvenile, the petitioners are languishing in central jail, Agra having undergone custody ranging from 14 years to 22 years,” it said.

It said though in majority of cases, the statutory appeals against conviction of these petitioners are pending before the high court but the need of the hour is to immediately release them as they have been declared as juveniles. PTI ABA MNL SJK SMN

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