The 14-year-old son of a Right to Information activist in Bihar’s Buxar district, who was allegedly charged by the police under the Arms Act as an adult and arrested in February, was granted bail after it was proved that he is a minor, The Indian Express reported on Monday. The bail order for the boy was issued on Friday.
Last week, Buxar Superintendent of Police Upendra Nath Verma had ordered a probe into accusations that the police had falsely claimed that the boy was an adult and arrested him. The boy’s lawyer had also submitted a school certificate proving his age to the police. Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey had said that he was personally looking into the case.
The boy’s father had alleged that he was arrested in Buxar’s Rajpur area, while he was riding on a bike with two men from their village. He was returning home after taking his Class 10 board examination on February 25.
The activist told The Indian Express that the police claimed the boy was carrying a country-made pistol and the two men accompanying him had live cartridges in their possession.
The activist alleged that his son had been framed in the case because of his work. He had filed several RTIs to obtain details of the Bihar government’s jobs and agricultural schemes, in his effort to unearth corruption and irregularities.
“He [the boy] suffered because I am an RTI activist and my queries, especially on MNREGA job cards and procurement of paddy over the last 10 years, had been hurting some people,” the RTI activist told the newspaper. “It [the bail] feels like a dream after a long nightmare. My son will come back to us, finally.”
The activist said that his son had lost out on a whole school year because of the case. “He had scored 83% in the five papers he wrote,” the activist said. “He had to appear for his final paper when he was arrested.”
The boy’s lawyer told the newspaper that his school documents had proved that he was born in 2006. “We are very happy that the Juvenile Justice Board heard our case on priority, and declared the boy as a minor after the father submitted an affidavit,” he said. He added that the police will now have to look at the case differently since the underage boy cannot face trial.