Delhi High Court has transferred the case of a Malaysian National related to the Tablighi Jamaat event, who happens to be a juvenile, from one Juvenile Justice Board to another so that he's not deprived of the opportunity of exercising plea bargaining.
The Single Bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani transferred the case from JJB-I Kingsway to JJB-IV Vishwas Nagar, as the former did not have the requisite quorum to entertain the plea of the juvenile Petitioner.
The court said:
'In view of the foregoing, in exercise of powers under section 482 Cr.P.C. and noticing that section 407 Cr.P.C. does empower the High Court to transfer cases but that there is no specific provision under section 407 Cr.P.C. which deals with transfer of cases under the JJ Act from one JJB to another, nor is there any bar to such transfer, this court is persuaded to exercise its inherent powers under section 482 Cr.P.C. to direct that the case against the applicant arising from the charge-sheet filed in FIR No. 63/2020 be transferred forthwith from JJB-I, Kingsway Camp to JJB-IV, Vishwas Nagar to be dealt with expeditiously, in accordance with law.'
Senior Advocate S Hariharan submitted that since there is no specific provision even under section 407 of the Criminal Procedure Code which covers the transfer of proceedings from one JJB to another, the inherent powers of the High Court under section 482 Cr.P.C. would come into play, to be exercised in the interests of justice.
Mr Hariharan informed the court that as a juvenile in conflict with law (JCL) appeared before the JJB-I, but it turned out that the Board was not in a position to pass any final order due to lack of quorum, owing to the pending vacancies.
It was submitted by Mr Hariharan that the applicant finds himself in a quandary in that, though he is willing to enter a plea-bargain on the same lines as the other 121 accused, by reason of vacancies and lack of quorum at JJB-I, the applicant's matter cannot proceed. By reason thereof, the applicant, who is a juvenile, would be left behind in India when all other persons who had come with him would return to their country.
The court was also informed of the fact that the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, after taking into record the orders passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate on the plea bargaining applications, has closed the proceedings against the 121 Malaysian nationals who participated in the Tablighi Jamaat event.
After noting that the Delhi Government has no objection to the plea moved by the applicant, the court allowed the same and disposed of the petition by noting that:
'Since the proceedings before the learned CMM stand concluded and the matter stands closed, nothing further survives in this petition and the same is accordingly disposed of.'
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