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JJ Act | Child Cannot Be Automatically Tried As An Adult Even If It Commits Heinous Crime: Bombay High Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
21 March 2022 2:00 PM GMT
JJ Act | Child Cannot Be Automatically Tried As An Adult Even If It Commits Heinous Crime: Bombay High Court
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The Bombay High Court recently, in a criminal revision application, dealt with the question of when does a child in conflict with law (CCL) qualify to be tried as an adult. Single Judge M.G. Sewlikar noted that under Section 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 has to make an assessment into heinous offences to determine whether CCL is to be tried as...

The Bombay High Court recently, in a criminal revision application, dealt with the question of when does a child in conflict with law (CCL) qualify to be tried as an adult.

Single Judge M.G. Sewlikar noted that under Section 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 has to make an assessment into heinous offences to determine whether CCL is to be tried as an adult.

The revision was preferred by the State of Maharashtra through the Officer in-charge, Anti-Terrorism Squad, Aurangabad against the Judgment and order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, confirming the order of the Juvenile Justice Board which dismissed the application of the State that the CCL be transferred to Children's Court for trial as an adult.

Section 2(12) of the the JJ Act defines "child" who has not completed eighteen years of age. As per Section 2(13) "child in conflict with law" means a child who is alleged or found to have committed an offence and who has not completed eighteen years of age on the date of commission of such offence. In Section 2(33) "heinous offence " is defined as the offence for which the minimum punishment under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being in force is imprisonment for seven years or more.

Under Section 15, in case of a heinous offence allegedly committed by a child above 16 years of age, the Board has to conduct a preliminary assessment with regard to his mental and physical capacity to commit such offence, ability to understand the consequences of the offence and the circumstances in which he allegedly committed the offence, before deciding if the CCL can be tried as an adult.

As per Section 2(33) of the J.J. Act "heinous offences" means the offences in which minimum punishment is seven years or more.

In this backdrop, the single judge observed that none of the Sections 18, 20, 38 and 39 alleged against the present CCL provides minimum punishment for seven years.

Thus the single judge concluded that the revision application is devoid of any substance and dismissed it.

Reliance was placed on Shilpa Mittal Vs. State (NCT of Delhi) and Another [(2020) 2 Supreme Court Cases 787], wherein the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that before the juvenile is tried as an adult a very detailed study must be done and the procedure laid down has to be followed.

"Even if a child commits a heinous crime, he is not automatically to be tried as an adult. This also clearly indicates that the meaning of the words "heinous offence" cannot be expanded by removing the word "minimum" from the definition...in exercise of powers conferred under Article 142 of the Constitution, we direct that from the date when the 2015 Act came into force, all children who have committed offences falling in the 4th category shall be dealt with in the same manner as children who have committed "serious offences"," it was held therein.

Having regard to this, the Court said it is clear that the JJB did not commit any error in rejecting the application and the Appellate Court did not commit any error in dismissing Criminal Appeal.

Case Title : The State of Maharashtra v Shadab Tabarak Khan

Citation : 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 91

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment

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