Guwahati, Aug. 3: The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) today discharged Benjamin Momin in the case for which he had to spend 12 years in jail pending trial.
Momin, who is out on bail granted by the board in May, was finally relieved of his misery when the board’s principal magistrate for Kamrup, Biswajit Roy, discharged him and closed the case.
Momin was discharged as he had already spent 12 years in jail whereas the maximum sentence for “juveniles in conflict with law” is three years in an observation home.
Though he could not appear before the board today owing to illness, his lawyers Imran Hussain Borbhuyan and Ritumoni Rajkhowa appeared on his behalf.
Momin, who was a juvenile at the time of the alleged offence, was sent to jail in complete violation of the law.
According to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, an accused who is yet to attain adulthood cannot be lodged in jail and must be sent to an observation home.
Following his arrest from Dimapur in January 2000 in connection with a case registered at Boko police station in Kamrup district, Momin was produced before a regular criminal court, from where he was remanded in judicial custody at the central jail.
The case was registered in connection with a robbery on November 7, 1999. Momin, who hails from Mendipathar in East Garo Hills of Meghalaya and was studying at a school in Dimapur, was accused of helping the other accused persons in acquiring arms to commit the crime.
Momin’s case was pending trial at the district and sessions court, Kamrup, till Gauhati High Court took cognisance of a letter to chief justice A.K. Goel on December 3 last year, claiming that gross injustice had been meted out to him.
The high court then directed the district court to expeditiously decide Momin’s juvenility plea.
The district and sessions court forwarded his case to the board after an ossification test confirmed that he was a minor in 1999, when the alleged crime was committed.