Minor in jail with mom: Court docket says could have an effect on improvement, teen sister instructed to take custody

Detaining a child at a tender age, even if their mother is taken into custody, would negatively affect their development, a court court said when it ruled on custody of a five-year-old whose parents were convicted of murder.

The court recently sentenced the couple to life imprisonment after being found guilty of the murder of their sister-in-law in 2015 after a domestic argument. The couple, with their youngest son, who lives with his mother in Byculla Prison, have been incarcerated for five years since birth. The court ordered that the couple’s 19-year-old daughter be given custody
of the 5 year old boy.

After her conviction, the court examined the child’s custody. While the woman petitioned for indulgence because two of her children – now aged 19 and nine – are living alone and no one is taking their responsibilities, she also said that her 5-year-old son was in jail with her. “Imprisoning a child at a tender age, even if it is in the care of its mother, would violently affect the child’s physical and mental development. The defendants have another daughter, who is a major, and another son, aged nine. Therefore, from my point of view, the underage child in the care of defendant number 2 (mother) must be placed in the care of his sister, who is not only a minor, but also takes care of her younger brother with the help of other relatives, ”said the court.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, a domestic dispute over the ancestral home had led to rifts between the 50-year-old prisoner and his brother. Their wives also took part. On the day of the incident on October 26, 2015, when the victim’s husband was at work, the couple and the sister-in-law had an argument. Prosecutors said while the man was pouring kerosene on the victim’s body, his wife lit a match and threw it at her. Among the pieces of evidence the court considered was the victim’s declaration of death, naming the couple, the testimony of her husband and her neighbors who said they were canceling the regular disputes between them.

The convicts had relied on the hospital’s first medical case papers, which indicated that the victim’s burn injuries were “self-inflicted” and that there were no eyewitnesses. It was further alleged that they were mistakenly implicated in the property. However, the court said there was enough evidence to prove their guilt on charges of murder and the collective intent of the IPC. When asked to speak on their sentencing, they asked for indulgence on the grounds of their children.

“The defendants have been in custody for five years. During this time, the child of the same age is in prison with his mother. India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989 and has enacted laws (through the Juvenile Justice Act). The Convention… states that the detention of children should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest period of time. Even if such detention is required, the said article mandates that children should be separated from adults, ”said the judge of the additional sessions, Sanjashree Gharat.

The Supreme Court has ruled in previous judgments that the prison environment is not conducive to a child’s development. It allows children to stay with their mothers in prison up to the age of six and then to be sent to a children’s home if no one looks after them.

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