8-YO girl lands in courtroom; Judge reprimands police

Bhubaneswar: Magistrate of the Additional DCP Court, Bhubaneswar, was shocked when he saw an 8-year-old girl inside the courtroom as an accused in connection with a family dispute yesterday.

The appearance of the little girl as an accused before the court under section 107 of IPC had upset many at the court. After hearing from her family members, the magistrate expressed wrath over acts of carelessness by the Commissionerate police that always claims to have stood for protection of children in Twin City of the State.

Fumed over irresponsible act of the police, Bhubaneswar DCP served showcause notice to the investigative officers and sought report from the IIC of Balipatna Police Station.

It is alleged that the insensitive and illegal act of police doing such ignorant and filthy use of Indian Penal act is violation of Child rights

A day after the report published in media, human rights activist Pradipta Nayak filed a petition before the OHRC to recommend the DCP for a speedy inquiry in the case.

According to reports, the Balipatna Police had registered a case in connection with a face-off by family members of two residents — Dharmananda Jena and Akshay Jena — of Deulidharpur village under Banamalipur police outpost on December 15 last year. To avoid any untoward incident, the police had booked members of two families under Section 107 of IPC and summoned for hearing scheduled on January 19, 2021.

As per information, the age of the accused girl was mentioned as the 19-year-old.

Responding to the notice, the family members along with the accused girl were deposed in the case on Tuesday. However, the magistrate expressed displeasure after seeing the minor girl in the court.

Following many questions raised on the probe process by the Balipatna police into the case, the Bhubaneswar DCP Umshankar Dash directed the ACP (zone-4) to submit a report on the matter. He also reprimanded the Balipatna IIC Radhakant Sahoo for improper investigation.

When asked about the matter, the Police IIC said that the it was a mistake by the police while summoning the family members as one of women aged about 19 years was involved in the case.

However, the minor accused will be dropped from the case, he said.

In the petition filed before the Chairperson of OHRC, the human rights activist said that the police inquiry officer as well as the supervising authority should have taken care and crosschecked the age of persons while enacting or sending any kind of notice or public statement against any person.

“Bringing an 8-year-old child to court premises or police station and producing before the magistrate in a terrible atmosphere violating all norms of penal rules is completely unconstitutional and inhuman. An 8-year-old child cannot be a conspirator or encourage adults for doing any crime,” Nayak said in the petition mentioning, “The penal rules envisage that no offence can be treated as an offence of a child upto the age of 12 with regards to his or her maturity and child psychology.”

Reacting to the incident, the Childline official Benudhar Senapati said that a juvenile under age of 7 cannot be booked under section 82 of the IPC if he/she commits any crime. Similarly, accused juvenile between age group of 8 and 12 cannot be arrested if there were unaware of consequences of the crime. In such case, the accused can be booked under 75 of Juvenile Justice Act. If the accused is found to be guilty shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine of one lakh rupees or with both.

 

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