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Peshawar High Court (PHC) grants bail to juvenile over honor killings

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has granted bail to a juvenile person arrested over the alleged ‘honor killing’ of his teenage sister and a man.

Justice Mohammad Ijaz Khan of a single-member bench accepted the bail petition of the 14-year-old accused on the condition of furnishing two surety bonds of Rs200, 000 each.

The FIR of killings was registered at the Sahibabad police station in Upper Dir district on June 7, 2022, under the Pakistan Penal Code’s sections 302 (intentional murder) and 311 (mischief on earth).

The complainant, SHO Mohammad Hussain Khan, said he learned about the murder of a teenage girl and a man inside a house, visited the place and found the bodies lying in a room. He added that he was told that the two were killed by the woman’s minor brother (petitioner) after finding them in a compromising situation.

14-year-old accused of killing his teenage sister, man

In the nine-page detailed judgement, the bench highlighted provisions of the Juvenile Justice System Act (JJSA), 2018, and different aspects of the case.

It observed that there was no dispute that the petitioner was a child and a juvenile offender.

The bench observed that the grant of bail to a juvenile offender was regulated by Section 6 of the JJSA.

It added that three kinds of offences had been defined in the Act and they included heinous, major and minor, while Section 6(4) declared that bail should not be granted to a juvenile offender, who was over 16 and accused of commission of a heinous offence.

However, the bench observed that in the case in question, admittedly the petitioner was below 16 years of age as on the day of occurrence he was 13 years and two months of age.

It added that the nature of offence with which the petitioner was charged was heinous but under Section 6(4) of the Act, the bail could be refused to a juvenile offender, who was more than 16 years of age and was charged in a heinous offence.

The court declared that the bar in question was not applicable to the petitioner.

It ruled that in the entire JJSA, the legislature had not provided any specific bar nor any beneficial provision to the effect that if even a juvenile offender who was less than 16 years of age and was accused of a heinous offence could be granted or refused the bail as the case might be and therefore, in absence of any specific bar, the same would be interpreted in favour of a juvenile accused.

“Even on merit, it’s an unseen occurrence as the local police visited the house of the accused and none of inmates of the house bothered to come forward and lodge the report. And as such, the complainant SHO under compulsion had nominated the present petitioner on the basis of his own information.”

The court declared that the petitioner being a juvenile could not be the exclusive owner and inmate of the house and as such, there was nothing available on record that as to whether the other male members were present at the relevant night and time of killings or not were questions, which required further probe.

Source: Dawn