Merely because an accused is a Muslim, governed by personal laws, can be debarred from availing rights under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000? Delhi Court answers

Patiala House Courts: In a matter for grant of custody parole, Dharmender Rana, ASJ-02, held that, merely because the accused is Muslim and governed by personal laws, he cannot be debarred from availing rights conferred upon him by Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

Applicant moved an application for grant of custody parole on the ground that he is required to visit the office of Tehsildar for signing adoption papers.

Additional PP for the State opposed the application stating that in Islam, adoption is not legally permissible and thus the very ground for custody parole is specious. Further, it was submitted that the personal laws are applicable in issues related to adoption and thus the application deserved to be dismissed.

Counsel for the defence relied upon the Supreme Court decision in Shabnam Hashmi v. Union of India, WP(Civil) No. 470 /2005, to contend that although under personal rules, adoption is not permissible in Islam but under the provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, even a Muslim is entitled to adopt a child and the rights of the accused cannot be negated on the ground that he is facing trial.

Decision

Court concurred with the defence counsel that merely because the applicant/accused happens to be Muslim and governed by personal laws on various issues, he cannot be debarred from availing the rights conferred upon him by general and benevolent legislation like Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

In view of the above, the instant application was allowed.

Hence, the Jail Superintendent was requested to take the applicant on custody parole to the office of Tehsildar.[State v. Ashabuddin, FIR No. 55 of 2013, decided on 28-3-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

Sh. Irfan Ahmed, Ld. Addl. PP for State

Ms. Qausar Khan, Ld. Counsel for applicant/accused Ashabuddin.

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