HC: Juvenile board to handle child’s bail plea - ECAS Punjab

HC: Juvenile board to handle child’s bail plea

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Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31

In a significant judgment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today made it clear a child's bail application would be entertained by the Juvenile Justice Board. It also ruled that regular bail plea before children's court was not maintainable.

The question for adjudication before Justice Jaishree Thakur's Bench was whether a child in conflict with law, being tried as an adult for the purpose of trial under the Juvenile Justice Act, could maintain an application for regular bail under Section 12 of the Act or Section 439 of CrPC before the children's court and the High Court.

Justice Thakur asserted the only Section pertaining to a juvenile's bail was 12 of the Act. It clearly spelled out that bail would be allowed to a child, who allegedly committed a bailable or non-bailable offence, notwithstanding anything contained in CrPC or any other law.

But the directive came with a rider. Bail was not to be allowed where reasonable grounds appeared for believing that the juvenile's release was likely to bring him in association with known criminal, expose him to moral, physical or psychological danger or defeat the ends of justice.

The Board was to record reasons for declining bail. "The Act does not differentiate between bail being allowed to a juvenile alleged to be involved in a petty offence, serious offence or a heinous one, or between a juvenile being tried as an adult before the children's court," Justice Thakur said.

On argument that the Board would become "functus officio" or without further official authority once the matter was transferred to the children's court, Justice Thakur asserted it was unsustainable in the absence of any other provision under the Act for deciding bail.



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