School murder case: SC grants interim bail to student who allegedly slit junior's throat
New Delhi, October 20, 2022
The Supreme Court on Thursday granted interim bail to the accused in the chilling 2017 case, where he, 16 years old then, allegedly murdered a seven-year-old Class 2 student at a private school in Gurugram.
A bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and J. K. Maheshwari noted that the accused has been in detention for nearly five years now.
Senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra and advocate Durga Dutt, representing the accused, contended that their client has been in detention for nearly five years now, and the trial has not commenced so far. Recently, the Juvenile Justice Board had clarified that the accused student should be tried as adult and not as a juvenile.
The top court said the bail would be granted on terms and conditions as may be imposed by Gurugram sessions judge and the accused would have to remain under continued supervision of probation officer.
It has scheduled the matter for further hearing in January 2023.
The seven-year-old student was found with his throat slit outside the school's washroom on September 8, 2017.
The accused, then a Class 11 student, was accused of murdering the Class 2 student, whom he picked at random, to allegedly defer an approaching examination and a parent-teacher meeting.
The top court noted that the petitioner was 16 when he was taken in detention and is 21 now. Although he is at present being housed in a correctional home, his continued detention pre-trial may have its own adverse effects, it added.
Counsel for the accused argued that there is no direct evidence against the petitioner, and there is no eyewitness to the occurrence and a careful perusal of entire material would show that, except the baseless suspicion, there is absolutely no material produced by the CBI to connect the petitioner with the alleged offence.
Counsel further argued that while dealing with the bail matter, none of the courts below have ever tried to examine the materials on records meticulously and there is nothing on record which could justify the prosecution of the petitioner in this case. It is a settled principle of law that suspicion, howsoever strong it may be, cannot take the place of evidence and a conviction cannot be based on a mere suspicion, counsel added.
Initially, the Gurugram police had arrested a school bus conductor for the murder. However, later, the investigation was handed over to the CBI, which arrested the accused, saying he had confessed to killing the Class 2 student.