Raj HC | Gravity of offence cannot be a reasonable ground for denying bail to Juvenile delinquents, except under extraordinary situations

Rajasthan High Court: Manoj Kumar Garg, J. allowed bail to a juvenile who was accused of criminal offences on finding his situation to be inconsistent with any of the exceptional circumstances given in Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.

The petitioner(s) Ridmal Ram, on behalf of juvenile son Neeraj, had his bail plea denied by the Principal Magistrate, Juvenile Justice Board, Barmer and subsequently by the Special Judge (POCSO Act Cases), Balotara. The charges against the juvenile were of being a member of an unlawful assembly, voluntarily causing hurt, wrongful restraint, attempt to murder and theft under Sections 143,323,341,307 and 382 of the Penal Code, 1860 respectively.

Advocate, G.S. Bhati represented the petitioners while Public Prosecutor, A.R. Choudhary argued for the State.

The Court perused the language of Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act and found the exceptional cases in which bail can be denied to a juvenile delinquent to be threefold: where there appear reasonable grounds for believing that the release if likely to bring him into association with any known criminal, or expose him to moral, physical or psychological danger, or that his release would defeat the ends of justice.

The Court found the juvenile’s situation to be inconsistent with the circumstances mentioned in Section 12 and thus, set aside the previous orders and allowed the bail petition with the stipulation that on all subsequent dates of hearing, he shall appear before the said court or any other court, during pendency of the investigation/trial in the case and that his guardian shall keep proper look after of the delinquent child and secure him away from the company of known criminals.[Neeraj v. State of Rajasthan, 2019 SCC OnLine Raj 3911, decided on 05-11-2019]

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