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Court raps police for minor detention

Calcutta, July 12: A Sealdah court today rapped the investigating officer for not checking the age of a minor before taking him into custody on July 4.

The Sealdah additional chief judicial magistrate’s court granted police permission to produce the boy, arrested from Chitpur on July 3 on the charge of theft, before the juvenile justice board. An arrested person aged less than 18 has to be kept in a juvenile home.

According to the birth certificate of the boy, he is 17 years and nine months old. The police have been accused of keeping him in custody for 10 days, despite the boy being a minor, and torturing him.

The court today granted bail to the teen against a bond of Rs 500 and instructed his mother, a domestic help, to ensure that he appeared before the juvenile justice board on Monday.

The police produced the boy, who had been kept in the lock-up of Chitpur police station, in court two days before the scheduled date of production after his family lodged a complaint of “illegal detention of a minor” and “brutal custody torture” with deputy commissioner (north) Bastab Baidya yesterday.

The investigating officer told the court today that he had been “told that the boy was 18 years old”. The boy’s mother has, however, alleged that the personnel at Chitpur police station had thrown away the birth certificate when she approached them on July 4.

“The fact that the police produced the boy in court before the scheduled date is an admission of their mistake. Now that it has been established that he is a minor and that the police had detained him illegally, we will focus on the boy’s allegation of torture,” said the teen’s lawyer, Biswadip Chatterjee.