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Jahangirpuri Violence: Delhi High Court Orders Production Of Juvenile Accused Before Juvenile Justice Board

Nupur Thapliyal
18 April 2022 11:15 AM GMT
Jahangirpuri Violence: Delhi High Court Orders Production Of Juvenile Accused Before Juvenile Justice Board
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The Delhi High Court on Monday ordered the production before a juvenile justice board, of an accused claiming to be a juvenile aged 16 years, arrested in connection with the clashes that broke out last week in city's Jahangirpuri area during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.The juvenile accused was sent to one day police custody remand here by a Duty Magistrate of Rohini Courts yesterday.A...

The Delhi High Court on Monday ordered the production before a juvenile justice board, of an accused claiming to be a juvenile aged 16 years, arrested in connection with the clashes that broke out last week in city's Jahangirpuri area during a Hanuman Jayanti procession.

The juvenile accused was sent to one day police custody remand here by a Duty Magistrate of Rohini Courts yesterday.

A bench comprising of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar was dealing with a habeas corpus plea filed by a woman, asserting that her minor brother in law was kept in unlawful detention without proper disclosure of his age, despite being 16 years only.

During the course of hearing today, Advocate Tara Narula appearing for the petitioner argued that the minor could not have been remanded to police custody or be taken into detention by the regular police as sec. 10 of the Juvenile Justice Act was squarely applicable in the case.

Sec. 10 states that "As soon as a juvenile in conflict with law is apprehended by police, he shall be placed under the charge of the special juvenile police unit or the designated police officer, who shall produce the juvenile before the Board without any loss of time but within a period of twenty-four hours of his apprehension excluding the time necessary for the journey, from the place where the juvenile was apprehended, to the Board. Provided that in no case, a juvenile in conflict with law shall be placed in a police lockup or lodged in a jail."

While Narula relied on the minor's municipal birth certificate to support the claim of juvenility, Justice Mridul orally remarked that it is for the concerned Juvenile Justice Board to determine his age.

At the outset, the Court asked the Delhi Police as to why was the minor not being produced before the JJB to which the Delhi Police, which was represented by ASC Criminal and Additional SHO, Jahangirpuri, submitted that the minor will be produced today before the JJB concerned at around 4:30 PM.

Hearing this, Justice Mridul remarked thus:

"You must realize, that when he is a juvenile and there is material available to show that he is a juvenile prima facie, then you don't have to produce him before a magistrate. You have to produce him before a juvenile justice board. Why the magistrate?"

"Police custody remand was given but that doesn't prevent you from following the letter and spirit of law. If it has now come to your notice that he is a juvenile, you have to take him there. You are not going to wait for one day PC and then take him there. Now you know he is a juvenile. He is entitled to the benefit/provisions of the Act."

While the Bench clarified that it was limiting the petitioner's prayer only to the extent of his production before the JJB, Justice Mridul told Narula thus:

"We understand that you say that he is a juvenile. But these are all serious matters. This is not as if they have picked him up for loitering or jaywalking. They picked him up for being part of a mob. So let us not go there. Let us follow the mandate of JJ Act and direct his production before JJB. The JJB will verify his age."

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the plea by recording the statement of the Additional SHO, Jahangirpuri that the juvenile shall be produced before concerned JJB in accordance with law on or before 4:30 PM today.

"Directed accordingly. The petition is disposed of," the Bench said.

The plea has been moved by Advocates Tara Narula, Tamanna Pankaj, Priya Vats and Deeksha Dwivedi with assistance of an organisation namely Association for Protection of Civil Rights.

According to the plea, it was alleged that the juvenile was picked up by the police on the suspicion of stone pelting and rioting during the clashes.

It was also alleged that he was brutally beaten up by the police officers and was further illegally detained into the custody from 16th to 17th April.

The FIR has been registered under sec. 147, 148, 149, 186, 353, 332, 323, 427, 436, 307 ,120B of the Indian Penal Code and sec. 27 of the Arms Act.

The Police had said that they have to go through the CCTV footages and identify other persons involved in the matter.

The Police has also said that during the clashes between the two communities, there was stone pelting and arson, injuring various persons including eight police personnel.

Case Title: Asifa v. State of NCT of Delhi

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 333

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