The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday issued notices on a plea filed against alleged violation of the Juvenile Justice Act in the state and disclosure of a juvenile's identity to the media.
The court has hearing a petition filed on behalf of a minor, who was booked for the offence of gambling under Sections 467,468 and 34 Indian Penal Code read and 4A Public Gambling Act 1867.
As per the plea, instead of first verifying the minor's age in accordance with the procedure enumerated in Chapter V of CrPC, the police straightaway proceeded for a press conference and disclosed the Petitioner's identity to the media, thus violating the vires of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2015.
The single-Judge bench of Justice Subodh Abhyankar has sought replies from the Central and the State government, including the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the National Commission for Child Development, regarding the steps that are being taken for implementation of the JJ Act and for training the police officers for dealing with cases that involve minors. The court has also asked them to monitor such cases and ensure that such illegal activities being done by the police are curbed.
The Court has also issued notices to the Crime Branch and the Station House Officer, Madhotal, Jabalpur asking them why the identity of the minor was not protected and why the errant police officers should not be punished. The court has also sought information on the steps that have been taken for effective implementation of the JJ Act in the state and also the status of the juvenile police unit within the state.
The Supreme Court has time and again issued various guidelines to the central and state the government, the latest being in Sampurna Behurua v. Union of India, WP(C) No. 473/2005, for effective implementation of the Act and to ensure that identity of a minor is not disclosed. Nevertheless, the Petitioner points out, the police authorities made no effort to verify his age.
"The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the case of Sampurna Behurua Vs. Union of India has explicitly issued direction to the state to comply with the law relating to the child in conflict with law and has also asked for its effective implementation and for the said purpose a copy of the order was sent to the registrar general of each High Court for compliance but the respondents acts clearly show that the law has not been followed and the child's identity has been disclosed amounts to violation of the law," the plea read.
Pertinently, Section 74 of the JJ Act prohibits any person or authority from publishing or disclosing identification demographics of a minor. It is a punishable offence with imprisonment of upto six months or fine upto Rs. 2 lakh. Nevertheless, the Respondents "expressly" disclosed the Petitioner's identity to the media.
The Petitioner further pointed out that as per Section 9 (5) of the Madhya Pradesh Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules 2003, it is mandatory for the police to place a juvenile before the special juvenile police unit. "Yet, the procedure was not followed by the respondents and the abidanceof section 9 of the said Act was not kept intact while 18 dealing with the FIR and hence it caused huge prejudice and injustice to the petitioner," the plea states.
The arguments for the Petitioner were advanced by Advocate Dheeraj Kumar Tiwari.
Case Title: Dheeraj Kumar Kukareja & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.
Case No.: WP No. 4485/2020
Quorum: Justice Subodh Abhyankar
Appearance: Advocates Dheeraj Kumar Tiwari and Vipin Kumar Bari (for Petitioner)
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