Juvenile Justice Act- Delhi High Court Issues TimeLine For Completing 'Age Determination' Of 'Juveniles In Conflict With Law'

Update: 2021-11-06 07:20 GMT

The Delhi High Court has issued directions for streamlining the process of inquiries relating to juveniles in conflict with law and scrupulous compliance by all authorities. A bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup J Bhambhani issued the following directions:(a) In all cases pertaining to juveniles in conflict with law, regardless of the nature of offences alleged,...

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The Delhi High Court has issued directions for streamlining the process of inquiries relating to juveniles in conflict with law and scrupulous compliance by all authorities.

A bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup J Bhambhani issued the following directions:

(a) In all cases pertaining to juveniles in conflict with law, regardless of the nature of offences alleged, upon directions issued by a JJB after production of a juvenile before it, the Investigating Officer of the case shall collect and file before the JJB requisite documents towards proof of age of the juvenile within 15 days from the date of issuance of such directions.

(b) In all cases pertaining to juveniles in conflict with law, regardless of the nature of offences alleged, upon directions issued by a JJB after production of a juvenile before it, the Investigating Officer of the case shall ensure that the ossification test in relation to the juvenile is completed, a report is obtained and filed before the JJB within 15 days from the date the ossification test is ordered by a JJB.

(c) In all cases pertaining to juveniles in conflict with law, regardless of the nature of offences alleged, the JJB shall ensure that the process of age-determination of the juvenile is completed within 15 days from the filing of documents relating to proof of age/ossification test report by the Investigating Officer, as the case may be.

(d) It is further directed that all persons/educational institutions/medical institutions/governmental authorities to whom a request is made by an Investigating Officer for providing documentation towards age-determination or for conducting ossification test on a juvenile, shall give priority, co- operate and undertake necessary procedures and processes to enable compliance with the time-lines set-out above.

The Court was dealing with a criminal reference wherein questions of law were placed by a Principal Magistrate of a Juvenile Justice Board concerning the circumstances when a child in conflict with law also happens to be a child in need of care and protection.

The Court also granted four weeks' time to the Delhi Government for furnishing information relating to inquiries for petty offences pending before all JJBs in Delhi between six months and one year, including the number of such cases along with the date of institution of the inquiry and date of first production of the juvenile in conflict with law.

"The State is further directed to apprise the court as to the quantum of money sanctioned and allocated for the Juvenile Justice Fund; and the quantum disbursed from the said fund, along with the purpose for which money was disbursed, as of 30.11.2021. (cf. Rule 83 of JJ Rules 2016). The State is also directed to apprise the court as to the status of the proposal to increase the number of JJBs in the city, including the timelines proposed for the purpose," the Court added.

Last month, the Court had directed that all cases alleging petty offences against children or juveniles in conflict with law, where the inquiry has been pending and remains inconclusive for a period longer than one year, regardless of whether such child or juvenile has been produced before the Juvenile Justice Boards in Delhi, shall stand terminated with immediate effect.

The Court noted that the long pendency of cases was due to pandemic, where children were not produced before the JJ Boards. It was understood by the stakeholders that the time of 04 months stipulated in section 14 would begin to run only after the date of first production of the child before the JJB, hundreds of matters relating even to petty offences have been languishing at various stages for much longer than 04 months.

Case Title: COURT ON ITS OWN MOTION v. STATE

Click Here To Read Order 


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