KARACHI: Locked up with serial offenders, the past few months have been dreadful for 14-year-old Muhammad Mustafa. The suspected murderer has been battling for legal concessions set for his age and things are finally moving in the right direction.
On Thursday, the Sindh High Court directed the trial court, additional sessions judge South, to consider the age of the juvenile prisoner while hearing his bail application. In a rare case, the minor has won his legal right for concessions prescribed for young offenders in the juvenile justice law.
Mustafa had gone to the high court against the rejection of his bail plea in a murder case by the relevant judge. On June 22, a man named Gulraiz was shot dead allegedly by four men in Chalia Gali, according to Kharadar police. A murder case (FIR 221/2012) under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code was registered at the Kharadar police station on the complaint of Muhammad Raza, who named Mustafa and his father, Imran, among the four accused. On September 18, the trial court dismissed the application seeking grant of bail to Mustafa under juvenile laws.
On Friday, Justice Nisar Muhammad Sheikh took up Mustafa’s application at the Sindh High Court.
Mustafa is entitled for bail as the rights of youthful offenders are defined and secured in the Juvenile Justice Act, 2002, as well as Section 497(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code, said Khawaja Naveed Ahmed, the petitioner’s lawyer, showing the suspect’s birth certificate.
“The murder case aims at pressuring my client’s father to withdraw two murder cases registered against the complainant party,” he contended. “The minor is now living with adult criminals in the jail and this will adversely affect his future.”
As Ahmed appealed to the court to admit Mustafa’s bail while considering juvenile rights, the state lawyer, Hamid Ali Sheikh, also seconded his suggestion.
After hearing the arguments, Justice Sheikh ordered that the applicant’s bail, which was dismissed by the additional sessions judge South on September 18, shall be deemed as pending for consideration.
Disposing of the bail plea, the judge also ordered the trial court to pass appropriate order after hearing the bail application.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2012.
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