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Can't Deny Bail To A Juvenile If A Similarly Circumstanced Adult Offender Has Been Granted Bail: Allahabad High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
27 March 2022 3:55 PM GMT
Cant Deny Bail To A Juvenile If A Similarly Circumstanced Adult Offender Has Been Granted Bail: Allahabad High Court
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The Allahabad High Court has reiterated that a Juvenile has a right to be released on bail where a similarly circumstanced adult offender has already been extended that liberty.The Bench of Justice Shamim Ahmed was of the further view that once the adult co-accused has been admitted to bail, there would be no justification to additionally test the case of the Juvenile with reference to...

The Allahabad High Court has reiterated that a Juvenile has a right to be released on bail where a similarly circumstanced adult offender has already been extended that liberty.

The Bench of Justice Shamim Ahmed was of the further view that once the adult co-accused has been admitted to bail, there would be no justification to additionally test the case of the Juvenile with reference to the requirements of the proviso to sub Section (1) of Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act.

It may be noted that the said proviso provides that bail is not to be granted to a juvenile if there are reasonable grounds to believe that such release would bring the juvenile in association with any known criminal or expose him/ her to moral, physical, or psychological danger or if his/her release would defeat the ends of justice.

The case in brief 

The Court was hearing a revision preferred by a Juvenile against the judgment and order passed by Special Judge POCSO Act Varanasi dismissing his criminal appeal and affirming the order of Juvenile Justice Board, Varanasi refusing him bail.

The Juvenile has been booked u/s 147, 149, 302, 307, 323, 324, 354, and 506 IPC and the matter relates to the alleged assault and injuries caused to two persons, one of whom even succumbed to the injuries.

The court below denied him bail on the ground that his release would lead to the ends of justice being defeated and this possibility disentitles him to be released on bail in view of the proviso to sub Section (1) of Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Before the High Court, it was submitted that the revisionist was a juvenile aged 17 Years 3 Months and 19 Days on the date of occurrence and been in jail since August 15, 2020, and has completed a substantial period of the sentence out of the maximum three years institutional incarceration permissible for a juvenile.

Further, it was also submitted that the adult co-accused has already been granted bail.

Court's observations

At the outset, the Court noted that the juvenile is clearly below 18 years of age and does not fall into that special category of a juvenile between the age of 16 and 18 years whose case may be viewed differently, in case, they are found to be of a mature mind and persons well understanding the consequences of their actions.

Further, the Court opined that bail to a juvenile, particularly, one who is under the age of 18 years, has to be granted a matter of course and it is only in the event that his case falls under one or the other disentitling categories mentioned in the proviso to sub-Section (1) of Section 12 of the Act that bail may be refused.

Against this backdrop, the Court concluded that the case of the Juvenile in the instant case didn't disentitle him to be granted bail. Consequently, the Court observed thus:

"After perusing the record in the light of the submissions made at the bar and after taking an overall view of all the facts and circumstances of this case, the nature of evidence, the period of detention already undergone, the unlikelihood of early conclusion of the trial and also in the absence of any convincing material to indicate the possibility of tampering with the evidence and the co-accused who are adult have been granted bail by this Court and in view of the larger mandate of the Article 21 of the Constitution of India...This Court is of the view that the present criminal revision may be allowed and the revisionist may be released on bail."

As a result, the revision succeeded and was allowed and the impugned judgment and order of the Special Judge POCSO Act, Varanasi, and the order passed by Juvenile Justice Board, Varanasi were set aside and reversed. The bail application of the revisionist stood allowed.

Case title - X (Minor) v. State of U.P. and Another
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AB) 140

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