LAHORE: An infant wrongly implicated in an encounter with the police got pre-arrest bail from a sessions court on Thursday.
The case was registered despite the fact that charges can’t be framed against a 'suckling' under the Pakistan Penal Code. Section 82 of the PPC says, "Nothing is an offence, which is done by a child under seven years of age".
Legal experts say the nomination of an infant as an accused in a criminal case exposes the level of efficiency and competence of the police and the lower judiciary.
On Feb 1 last, the Muslim Town police registered a case against a family including nine-month-old Musa who was nominated as accused in the FIR and charged with attempted murder and attacking a police raiding team. The police, along with a team of the SNGPL, had raided the house of Ammy on information of gas theft.
The infant was presented before the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Rafaqat Ali by his grandfather, Yasin. The baby had milk feeder in mouth when his grandfather entered the courtroom, a scene that evoked surprise and sympathy.
The judge granted confirmed bail to Musa against bail bonds of Rs50,000 while four adult accused persons were allowed interim pre-arrest bail till April 12. The judge also summoned the case record from the police on next hearing.
An emotional scene was witnessed in the courtroom when Yasin had to make an effort to get thumb impression of Musa on bail documents. The infant started crying during the procedure.
The government and the police authorities took cognizance of the matter after the electronic media flashed the news. DIG Rana Abdul Jabbar suspended ASI Kashif of Muslim Town police station who had lodged the FIR. The DIG sought a report of the matter from the Iqbal Town SP within a day and also appointed the SP headquarters to inquire into the matter.
A statement issued by the DIG claimed that the name of Musa was not included in the FIR and the episode was the result of some misunderstanding. He said under the law a nine-month-old baby could not be charged/booked.
An official of the Muslim Town police said the name of Musa was not mentioned in the FIR but a case was registered against a son of Ammy without mentioning name. He said the accused family misled the court by seeking bail for the infant. Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar, a criminal law expert, said it was not a matter of bail and the judge wrongfully passed the order of the minor. He said the judge should have taken notice of the nomination of the infant in the FIR besides seeking an explanation from the police.
He further stated that the bail was granted against an offence and no offence could be made out against a child below seven years of age.
Advocate Aftab Bajwa said the judge by granting bail to the minor exposed his incompetence. He said the judge failed to apply his judicial mind while taking up the matter as he should have ordered cancellation of the FIR to the extent of the nine-month-old boy and refer the matter to the district and sessions judge for further action against the police.