Habeas corpus plea: Punjab DGP told to produce missing minor boy in high court on June 13
During the proceedings of the habeas corpus plea, filed by his father on June 8, it has come to light that despite being minor, he was taken to the police station by the cops. As per police records, he was handed over to some village heads, and not to his parents.
The Punjab and Haryana high court (HC) has directed the Punjab director general of police (DGP) to produce before it a minor, who had gone missing while the police was probing him in a theft case, by June 13.
During the proceedings of the habeas corpus plea, filed by his father on June 8, it has come to light that despite being minor, he was taken to the police station by the cops. As per police records, he was handed over to some village heads, and not to his parents. These claims of the police have been countered by the family, alleging that despite him being a 16-year-old, he was kept in police custody for three days and not summoned on a day-to-day basis as police were claiming. The boy has been missing since June 4.
Now, the HC has directed that the DGP to look into the matter and produce him in the court on June 13. It is directed that all-out efforts are to be made to search the detenue. If the detenue is not located, then it shall be disclosed as to what efforts have been made to search the detenue, by filing affidavit of the officer, at least of the rank of inspector general of police, the bench of justice Gurbir Singh said.
The court questioned the police whether a juvenile, in conflict with law, can be called to the police station in such a manner after sunset. As per the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, such a child should be placed under the charge of special juvenile police. But in the instant case, as per the version of the investigating officer, he was called to the police station and then his custody, which in ordinary manner should have been given to the parents, was handed over to other persons including the complainant’s son, the bench added.
“It is the duty of the state to protect the life and liberty of its citizens. In case of minors and women, a heavy duty is cast upon the state to protect them,” the bench observed taking note of closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) footage produced by the petitioner father, who had alleged that two cops had taken away the boy on June 4 and that he was not summoned on a day-to-day basis to police station as claimed by the cops.
The court has now directed that the CCTV recording of Kathu Nangal police station, especially at the entry and exit gates, from June 6 to June 7, be preserved and produced before the duty magistrate. The duty magistrate has been directed to send the same to registrar general, high court. The court said, the senior superintendent of police, Amritsar (rural), would be personally responsible for ensuring compliance.
The petitioner’s counsel Amitoj Singh Dhaliwal had told the court that there was no explanation on who had produced the minor before the police and with whom, he had gone to join the investigation and as to why he was not handed over to his parents. Referring to the police records, he had submitted that the record according to which police were claiming that he was handed over to different persons had been created afterwards.
The court recorded that documents produced by the police prime facie indicated that some of the documents were “created afterwards”. There are many questions to be answered by the police, which arose from police records, the bench said adding that prima facie, it cannot be said that the police have prepared the record in regular course of duties.
“For the sake of arguments, if the police version is accepted, then the alleged minor detenue was handed over to different persons and not to the parents of minor. It is apprehended that either the minor has been eliminated or has been kept in custody of the police with active connivance of the above-mentioned persons and the police have filed forged documents in the court,” the court observed adding that all efforts be made to save the child and thus issued directions to the DGP.