Denial of bail to juveniles can evade the purpose of the Juvenile Justice Act, says MP High Court

Team SoOLEGAL 26 May 2020 3:21pm

Denial of bail to juveniles can evade the purpose of the Juvenile Justice Act, says MP High Court

The Madhya Pradesh High Court on 22 May ordered a juvenile accused under the Juvenile Justice Act to apply for bail before the Juvenile Justice Board, requesting the Board to grant bail in the event of such a case.

A revision petition for review was filed pursuant to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 against the order of the Additional Session Judge and Principal Judge of the Juvenile Justice Board, who had denied the accused's appeal for bail pursuant to the Act. The accused is a juvenile of 17 years of age, and  the victim is 15 years old.

No medical evidence of the incident has been recorded in the case so far and no injury was found on the victim's body. Further, the prosecutrix used to reside with the accused himself and her consent was involved in the act.. The petitioners' position was rejected by the State, which argued that, in view of the existence of the crime committed, the orders issued by the court had been provided for and could not be deemed unconstitutional because no illegality or perversity had been committed by the Courts.

The Court recalled the order of the Supreme Court, while acknowledging the condition of the jails during the COVID-19 pandemic, that all States should set up a High Level Committee to consider the release of prisoners in order to decongest the jails. The High Powered Committee was instructed to decide the type of offenders that should be released, based on the nature of the crime, the length of the punishment and the seriousness of the offence, or some other relevant factor that the Committee deemed acceptable.

The Court has also taken into consideration  Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015, according to which, if a juvenile accused is arrested or detained, he cannot be released if there are reasonable grounds to believe that his release is likely to involve him or her in any known criminal or expose him or her to moral, physical or psychological danger, or that his release would defeat the ends of justice.

According to the Bench, the lower courts have declined to grant bail to the convict, because the crime committed was very serious and his release would have reversed the ends of justice, but it must also be remembered that the purpose of the Legislature is not to hold a juvenile offender in detention except under the circumstances set out in the Act. Therefore, if the accused is refused bail, it will be contrary to the intent of the Juvenile Justice Act.

The Court then directed the claimant, via its prosecutor, to apply for bail before the Juvenile Board, and requested the Board to release him on bail if such an application had been transferred.

The bail order would also be subject to other conditions, such as the issuance of a personal bond in the amount of Rupees one lakh, the location of the accused on the days of the trial etc.

Tagged: MP High Court   Juvenile Justice Act   High Court   Juvenile Justice Board   COVID-19   Pandemic   outbreak   Supreme Court  
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