Denying a minor pre-arrest bail was certainly not legislature’s intention in enacting Juvenile Justice Act: P&H HC


By Anurag Mishra

The Punjab and Haryana High Court while saying that Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is a piece of social welfare legislation, which was enacted to take care of welfare of the children and to avoid their turning into hardened criminals, has granted pre-arrest bail to a juvenile in the case of Krishna Kumar Minor Thrugh His Mother Versus State Of Haryana

Background Facts of the Case

On the night of 14th September, 2019 at about 10:15 p.m. while complainant Rakesh Kumar son of Tilak Raj was sitting in his fields, then Lal Chand, his wife Bhagwanti, his son Krishna Kumar (present petitioner) and brother Sukhdev Singh came and started abusing him; Lal Chand gave a gandasi blow on his head and right arm, whereas wife of Lal Chand and his son (present petitioner) were having dandas and Sukhdev Singh was having datar; they said that the complainant was not giving passage to them and all of them attacked the complainant; wife of LalChand and his son (present petitioner) attacked him with dandascausing him injuries on right leg and waist. Sukhdev Singh gave blow of datar on left elbow of left hand, Lal Chand gave blows of gandasi on head and right arm of the complainant, then they tied his hands and feet with rope, gave him slaps and fist blows, took him towards katcha passage of his house and dragged him there; ultimately he was rescued and assailants ran away, in the process taking away Rs.5,000/–, a mobile phone and a gold chain of the complainant. This is the prosecution version of the facts before the court. 

Observations made by P&H High Court

The court observed that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is a piece of social welfare legislation, which was enacted to take care of welfare of the children and to avoid their turning into hardened criminals. Further observed that, the basic purpose of this legislation was to ensure that a child under age of 18 some time coming in conflict with law by committing an offence is to be tried in a manner and under such environment, which may take him to the path of reformation rather than allowing such children to mix up with criminals in the jail and themselves turning into hardened criminals. 

Hence opined, that this is exactly the purpose of putting the juvenile in conflict with law, in the separate observation homes rather than in normal jail. Even if a juvenile in conflict with law is found to have committed some offence, then instead of awarding deterrent punishment, his rehabilitation and social integration is sought.

P&H High Court also observed that if this special enactment is silent as regard a particular provision then that has to be read with the general law i.e. Criminal Procedure Code. An inference can certainly be not drawn that the legislature intended to debar a juvenile from seeking relief of pre-arrest bail.

An analogy was drawn to explain that if a specific provision in that regard is there in Section 18 of The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which clearly bars grant of pre-arrest bail to a person alleged to have committed offence under the said act. Even otherwise, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 providing that children below age of 18 years coming within definition of juvenile be treated with kindness and compassion even if they are found in conflict with law. It could certainly be not intention of the legislature that such juvenile should be first apprehended and then produce before Juvenile Justice Board, in the process denying relief to a juvenile, which is available to the other persons, who are accused of heinous offences.

Therefore, in the light of the above observations the minor was granted pre arrest bail.

Read Order

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