The Supreme Court issued notice today on a petition seeking the immediate release of 13 inmates who have been held at Agra Jail for nearly 20 years and have allegedly been subjected to unlawful detention.
The 13 petitioners’ appeal for bail was also given notice by the Division bench, which was helmed by Justices Indira Banerjee and V Ramsubramanian.
The petitioners, who are languishing in Agra Central Jail, have already served judicial incarceration for periods ranging from 14 to 22 years, according to the appeal submitted by 13 detainees designated as juveniles through Advocate on Record Rishi Malhotra.
Despite rulings by the Juvenile Justice Board under the Juvenile Justice Act that the petitioners were juveniles because they were all under the age of 18, the State of Uttar Pradesh has failed to take any steps to free them, according to the plea. “Though in the majority of cases, their statutory criminal appeal is pending before the High Court against their conviction,” the plea claims.
In Abuzar Hussain vs. State of West Bengal, 2012 (10) SCC 489, it was said, “A claim of juvenility may be filed at any stage of the case, even after the ultimate disposition.” It can be brought before this court for the first time as well as after the case has been decided. The fact that the claim of juvenility was raised late does not invalidate it.”The allegation of juvenility may be raised in an appeal even if it was not raised in the Trial Court, and it may be raised for the first time in this Court even if it was not raised in the Trial Court.”
In light of the spirit enshrined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, the petition requests the issuance of a writ of mandamus ordering the State of Uttar Pradesh to release the petitioners forthwith, despite the fact that the competent Juvenile Justice Board has labelled them juveniles.