Rajasthan High Court: Sandeep Mehta, J., allowed the revision application, granted bail and set aside the impugned orders.
The facts of the case are such that the petitioner has a child ‘X’ son who is a young boy of less than 16 years in conflict with law and been confined for the offences under Sections 341 and 395 of the IPC and is lodged at the Child Observation Home, Dungarpur. The bail application was preferred on his behalf by his natural guardian (father) Laxman under Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act was rejected by the Principal Magistrate, Juvenile Justice Board, Dungarpur which was challenged by an appeal under Section 101 of the Juvenile Justice Act which was also rejected. Assailing these two orders instant revision application was preferred under Section 397 of the CrPC read with Section 102 of the Juvenile Justice Act through his natural guardian.
Counsel for the State submitted that the revision cannot be decided in absence of a notice to the complainant respondent 2 Mani Lal.
Sections 12, 101 and 102 of the Juvenile Justice Act are the provisions dealing with the prayer for bail made on behalf of the CICL at different stages
The Court observed that an application for bail on behalf of a CICL is firstly required to be filed before the Juvenile Justice Board under Section 12 of the Act, which does not stipulate any opportunity of hearing to the complainant/victim for deciding such bail application.
The Court observed that in case of rejection of the bail application by the Board, the CICL can approach the Children court/Sessions court concerned by filing an appeal under Section 101 of the Juvenile Justice Act which makes it clear that there is no requirement in this provision as well to hear the complainant/victim
It was observed in case of an appeal preferred thereagainst under Section 101 of the Juvenile Justice Act has also been rejected, these orders can be challenged by filing a revision in the High Court by invoking powers conferred under Section 102 of the Juvenile Justice Act which stipulates that the High Court shall not pass an order under this section, prejudicial to any person without giving him a reasonable opportunity of being heard.
The Court observed that after analyzing the entire scheme of the Juvenile Justice Act, I am of the firm view that the concept of hearing the complainant in an application for bail of a CICL under the Juvenile Justice Act be it before the Board, the appellate court or the revisional court is totally foreign to the fundamental principles underlying the welfare legislation.
The Court also observed that if the legislature had intended to give a right of hearing to the complainant in proceedings of bail, under the Juvenile Justice Act specific insertions to this effect could have been made in Sections 12, 101 and 102 of the Juvenile Justice Act as are available in the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, another special legislation.
The Court observed that practice has been adopted of impleading the complainant as a party in a revision for bail of a juvenile under Section 102 of the Juvenile Justice act. It has also been seen on numerous instances that in cases involving multiple accused, of which few are adults and one is juvenile, the bail applications of the adult offenders are decided much earlier, whereas the juvenile continues to languish in the Observation Home, awaiting service of notice on the complainant.
This anomalous situation is absolutely unwarranted and has to be resolved by taking a pragmatic, legal and logical view of the situation.
The Court held “The apprehension expressed regarding the likelihood of the petitioner coming into contact with other offenders can be taken off by requiring his natural guardian to furnish a suitable undertaking. I am of the opinion that petitioner child is entitled to be enlarged on bail. Consequently, the instant revision is allowed.”[X v. State, S.B. Criminal Revision Petition No. 494/2021, decided on 01-07-2021]
Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
For Petitioner(s): Mr. Jitendra Ojha
For Respondent(s): Mr. Arun Kumar