Juvenile can appear before JJB as alternative to police detention: HC : The Tribune India

Juvenile can appear before JJB as alternative to police detention: HC

Purpose of Act is to save juvenile from trauma of judicial incarceration

Juvenile can appear before JJB as alternative to police detention: HC

Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, August 10

In a significant judgment liable to change the way pre-arrest bail is granted to a juvenile in conflict with law, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that such a child is at liberty to suo motu appear before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) concerned even in cases involving cognisable and non-bailable offences. The board, in turn, will grant bail to the juvenile, if the social investigation report indicates non-exposure to moral, physical or psychological danger once granted the relief.

The ruling by Justice Sureshwar Thakur came in a case where a juvenile sought pre-arrest bail in a snatching case by moving an application before the Mansa Additional Sessions Judge prior to his appearing before the board. The judge turned down the plea on the ground of maintainability.

Referring to the legal provision regarding “bail to a person who is apparently a child alleged to be in conflict with law”, Justice Thakur asserted the term “appears or brought before a board” indicated that the juvenile had an alternative mode to his being apprehended or detained by the police before being produced before the board.

He was bestowed the statutory latitude of suo motu appearing before the board concerned. The appearance was unqualified and not limited only to bailable, but also non-bailable offences. Describing the Additional Sessions Judge’s order as “completely infirm”, Justice Thakur asserted the suo motu appearance would be deemed to be “his making constructive custody before the board concerned”, following which the juvenile would become empowered to claim his release on bail with or without surety and/or claim his being placed under the supervision of a probation officer or care of any fit person.

“The holistic purpose of the Act is to save the juvenile in conflict with law from the agony and trauma of judicial incarceration. In consequence on the above analogy, any pre-trial detention of the petitioner, especially in the police custody, is to be saved, as and when deemed fit, as the above ill event would entail moral, physical or psychological danger to the framework of the juvenile in conflict with law and would militate against the spirit of the salutary provisions as encapsulated in the special enactment,” the Bench added.

Disposing of the plea, the Bench added the board in consequence of the liberty to the juvenile to suo motu appear, would forthwith invite social investigation report regarding the moral, physical or psychological danger he would be exposed to, if admitted to bail. In case of a non-affirmative report, the board may order the juvenile being put under the supervision of a probation officer or under the care of a fit person.

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