P&H HC | A juvenile has to be released on bail mandatorily unless and until exceptions carved out in proviso to S. 12 (1) of J.J. Act, 2015 itself are made out

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Jai Shree Thakur J., set aside the impugned order and allowed the appeal.

The facts of the case are such that he was arrested in FIR No.94 registered under Sections 307, 376, 457, 511 Penal Code, 1860 i.e. IPC at Police Station Division No.7, Ludhiana. He moved an application for grant of bail before Juvenile Justice Board, but the same was dismissed. The appeal preferred by him before the Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana was also dismissed. The present revision petition has been filed to challenge the impugned order dated 22.06.2020 passed by the Juvenile Justice Board, Ludhiana, whereby, the bail to the present petitioner aged 15 years (who has already been declared juvenile) has been declined and the same has been affirmed by Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana vide judgment dated 07.08.2020.

Counsel for the petitioners submitted that the argument forwarded by the respondents that  if released on bail he would come in close proximity to her as he resides near to the house of the complainant; and he may be exposed to moral and psychological danger and also his release would defeat the ends of justice, whereas, no such finding was recorded as to how he will come in contact with criminals and how he will be exposed to moral, physical or psychological danger, or that his release would defeat the ends of justice. It was also submitted that the petitioner is a student and he is not a previous convict nor is associated in any kind of un-social or criminal activities. It is further argued that nothing has been brought on record so as to show that the petitioner is having any criminal background or any criminal case has been registered against any of his family member.

Counsel for the respondents opposed the grant of bail to the petitioner on the ground of heinousness and seriousness of offence.

The court observed that from a bare reading of the provisions of Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 i.e. J.J. Act, it appears that the intention of the legislature is to grant bail to the juvenile irrespective of the nature or gravity of the offence alleged to have been committed by him, and bail can be declined only in such cases where reasonable grounds are there for believing that the release is likely to bring the juvenile into association of any known criminal or expose him to moral, physical or psychological danger, or that his release would defeat the ends of justice. Meaning thereby, as per the aforesaid provision, a juvenile can be denied the concession of bail, if any of the three contingencies specified under Section 12 (1) of the J.J. Act is available.

 Issue regarding orders declining bail to juveniles

The Court observed that bail of a child in conflict with law cannot be rejected in a routine manner and if the bail is declined, a reasoned order has to be given by the Board. A juvenile has to be released on bail mandatorily unless and until the exceptions carved out in proviso to Section 12 (1) of the J.J. Act, 2015 itself are made out. The exceptions are noted being:-

  1. a) a reasonable ground for believing that the release is likely to bring the juvenile into association with any known criminal;
  2. b) his release is likely to expose him to any moral, physical or psychological danger; and
  3. c) his release would defeat the ends of justice.

The Court thus held that “I am of the view that both the Courts below have not satisfied the requirement of provisions of Section 12(1) of the J.J. Act and without adhering to material on record, the bail application of the petitioner has been declined. Petitioner is in custody since the date of filing of the FIR i.e. 17.05.2020 and no purpose will be served, in case, he is kept in custody. The impugned orders are not sustainable in the eyes of law and as such, are liable to be set aside.”

 In view of the above, impugned order was set aside and appeal allowed.[Vishvas v. State of Punjab, CRR No. 53 of 2021, decided on 08-02-2021]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

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