A division bench of the Supreme Court, on Thursday, granted interim bail to the 21-year-old accused who was aged 16 when he allegedly murdered a nine-year-old boy at Gurugram’s Ryan International School in 2017, an incident that brought to limelight public concerns over the safety of schools in Delhi’s National Capital Region (NCR).
The bench comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and J.K. Maheshwari allowed the release of the accused on the grounds that he would be under the continued provision of the probation officer or any other individual with the responsibility. The probation officer will also inform the court if there is any shortcoming in the conduct of the accused individual while he is out on bail.
A murder that took place five years ago
On September 8, 2017, Pradyuman Thakur, a class 2 student at Ryan International School in Gurugram was found with his throat slit outside a washroom near his classroom on the ground floor of the building. Staff members who saw Thakur’s body rushed him to a nearby hospital in Badshahpur, where he was declared dead on arrival. The postmortem report of Thakur’s dead body revealed that injuries, inflicted by a sharp-edged weapon, were the cause of his death.
Irregularities reported in the case
Several lapses and wrongdoings were reported on the part of the school and police as Thakur’s parents alleged to the press that they were not informed, about the injuries their son had suffered, by the school and the latter didn’t call the police as well.
The Gurugram police at first arrested school bus conductor, Ashok Kumar, who assisted in carrying Thakur’s body to the hospital. But Haryana Police’s allegation about tampering with the crime scene led to Kumar being let off. Four Gurugram police officers were charged with framing Kumar by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on charges of falsifying documents, torture, and criminal conspiracy.
The accused, who was 16 years of age during the crime, murdered the child to get the examination postponed and cancel the scheduled parent-teacher meeting, according to the CBI charge sheet.
The Netflix documentary about the school murder
A Netflix documentary on the case, A Big Little Murder, was restricted to be aired by the Delhi High Court on August 13, 2021, unless all scenes or mentions referring to Ryan International are removed. The move came after Ryan International, through its trust, pleaded with the court against the streaming of the documentary over the use of its name and visuals of the schools being used.
What the apex court observed
Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and J.K.Maheshwari observed, on Thursday, that the continued detention of the accused until the trial is completed could have adverse effects on him.
The decision by the court comes after the Juvenile Justice Board said that the accused should be tried as an adult based on the opinion of psychologists about whether the petitioner, at the time of the crime, understood the graveness of the offence and its repercussions.
The Free Press Journal contacted the Mumbai branch of Ryan International Group but they refused to comment on the court’s decision or on the matter as a whole.