The Punjab and Haryana High Court while dealing with a case involving juvenile in conflict with law who allegedly committed offences punishable under Sections 379-B, 427, 511 of the IPC, held that if the juvenile in conflict with law suo motu makes appearance before Juvenile Justice Board concerned in respect of the petition offences, thereupon the said appearance would be deemed to be his making his constructive custody.
The bench comprising Justice Sureshwar Thakur further added that after such appearance, the juvenile in conflict with law, becomes empowered to claim bail as per Section 12(1) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.
The observation was made while hearing a challenge to the order of Additional Sessions Judge which held that the juvenile's anticipatory bail petition under Section 438 CrPC was not maintainable.
The High Court was of the view that the Additional Sessions Judge over focused upon the coinage "his apprehended or detained, by the police" as occurs in Section 12(1) of the Act, and, has concluded that, there is a completest dire statutory necessity of the juvenile in conflict with law, rather prior to his availing the mandate of Section 12, rather his becoming necessarily apprehended or detained by the police, and, obviously only after his apprehension, rather his becoming well leveraged to avail the statutory remedy for pre-arrest bail, though his accessing the Board or the Court concerned.
The court noted that although the police is lawfully authorized to apprehend or detain a juvenile in conflict with law, but the statutory coinage when read combinedly with the preceding thereto empowerment is made with a deep legislative intent which is beneficial to the juvenile in conflict with law.
The court further noted that the legislative intent is that only in most heinous offences with evident complicity with an adult accused can the police may lawfully exercise the statutory discretion, of apprehending or detaining a juvenile in conflict with law otherwise the police may not arrest, nor, apprehend and then such juvenile in conflict with law can choose the statutorily assigned mode of making his suo motu appearance before the Board to claim bail.
Moreover, the court noted that even when he seeks relief of prearrest bail, his appearance before the Court, is to be construed as surrender or is to be deemed to be his being in the constructive custody of the Board concerned, and, of the Court concerned.
Bearing in mind that non-bailable offences committed, by juvenile in conflict with law do not entail punishment of life imprisonment, the mandate of Section 18 of the Act, do not permit, the judicial incarceration of the juvenile in conflict with law, but rather contemplate(s), that he should be sent to a Children's Home. Since the holistic purpose of the Act, is to save the juvenile in conflict with law, from the agony, and, trauma of judicial incarceration.
………. the mandate of Section 18 of the Act, provisions whereof stands extracted hereinafter, do not permit, the judicial incarceration of the juvenile in conflict with law, but rather contemplate(s), that the juvenile in conflict with law, rather being sent to a Children's Home, Therefore, the holistic purpose of the Act, is to save the juvenile in conflict with law, from the agony, and, trauma of judicial incarceration.
In the wake of the above, the court allowed to grant bail.
Case Title: CHILD IN CONFLICT WITH LAW 'S' Versus STATE OF PUNJAB
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (PH) 220