Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Division Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit and Vineet Saran, JJ., dismissed an appeal with respect to the denial of appointment for the post of sub-inspector on the ground of a criminal case having been registered against respondent when he was a juvenile.

Court noted the significance of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act as follows:

“The thrust of the legislation as well i.e. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 as well as the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is that even if a juvenile is convicted, the same should be obliterated, so that there is no stigma with regard to any crime committed by such person as a juvenile.”

The facts of the present case are that, the respondent had cleared his process of application and interview and was thus selected and offered an appointment for the post of Sub-Inspector in Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF). Further, he was required to submit a form that contained a column relating to whether any FIR had been lodged against the respondent in the past, for which the respondent had given the details of the FIR lodged against him. Respondent had clearly mentioned in his form that he was acquitted for the same on a compromise.

Further respondent’s case was referred to the Standing Screening Committee which found his appointment to be unsuitable on the ground of a criminal case lodged in the past against him. Thus his appointment was cancelled by the National Industrial Security Academy.

Supreme Court’s Observation & Decision

Supreme Court in the present appeal noted that the complaint lodged against respondent was to the effect when he was a minor, he had teased a girl and went to the extent of catching hold of her hand. However, the girl and her parents decided to pardon the respondent resulting in his acquittal.

For the above-said, “even if it is found to be true, the Court stated that it cannot be said that the respondent committed such a crime which would be covered under the definition of moral turpitude, specially when the respondent is said to have committed the alleged offence when he was a minor.”

“Even if the allegations were found to be true, then too the respondent could not have been deprived of getting a job on the basis of such charges as the same had been committed while the respondent was juvenile.”

Further, the Court noted that, the case against the respondent is not with regard to the suppression of any conviction or charges having been framed against him. Respondent had very fairly disclosed the charges which had been framed and his acquittal.

Thus, the appeal was dismissed with a direction that the respondent shall be entitled to all the benefits of the Judgment. [Union of India v. Ramesh Bishnoi, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1531, decided on 29-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: A Bench of Prashant Kumar Mishra, Acting C.J. and Vimla Singh Kapoor, J. has held that “the grant of bail to a juvenile is required to be dealt with under Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and not under Sections 437 or 439 CrPC.”

Faced with application filed under Section 439 by a juvenile for grant of bail, the Single Judge, while differing from the view taken by coordinate benches in Mohan v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2015 SCC OnLine Chh 126 and Subhash Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh, (MCrC No. 5651 of 2014, dated 28-11-2014), referred the following question for a decision by the present bench of two Judges: “Whether in view of non-obstante clause contained in Section 12 of the JJ Act, 2015, provisions under Section 437 and 439 of CrPC are applicable for being invoked for grant of bail by a child in conflict with law as defined under the JJ Act, 2015?”

While the view in Mohan and Subhash Kumar was that despite the provisions contained in Section 12 of the JJ Act, the bail application under Section 439 CrPC is maintainable before the Sessions Court and the High Court, the correctness of the view was doubted by the Single Judge in the present case.

Discussing the relevant provisions of the JJ Act and CrPC, the High Court noted that by use of the term “otherwise” in Section 8(2) of JJ Act, the jurisdiction under Section 439 CrPC would not be attracted which is otherwise excluded by use of the term “notwithstanding anything contained in the CrPC or in any other law for the time being in force”, as occurring in Section 12(1) of the JJ Act.

Further, under the statutory scheme of the JJ Act, a comprehensive provision has been made as to how a child in conflict with law has to be dealt with when he is apprehended and not released on bail. The said provisions are contained under sub-sections (2), (3) and (4) of Section 12. The provisions pari materia to this are not available under Section 439 CrPC. In the absence of such provision either in case of denial of bail or even when the bail is allowed under Section 439 CrPC, but the conditions of bail are not satisfied, the juvenile would be deprived of his statutory right under Section 12(2), (3) & (4) of the JJ Act.

In sum, it was held: “Section 12 of the JJ Act having included ‘notwithstanding anything contained in the Code or in any other law for the time being in force’, the provisions as contained in the Code in respect of grant of bail under Sections 437 and 439 have to be excluded and shall not apply while considering the juvenile’s right to be enlarged on bail for which a specific provision has been made under Section 12.”

While answering the reference as above, the bail application was dismissed. [Tejram Nagrachi v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 24, Order dated 5-4-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

Sub-section (1) of Section 41 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 requires that all Child Care Institutions (CCIs) whether run by State Government or by voluntary or non-governmental organisations shall be registered under the Act. This further provides that the institutions having valid registrations under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 shall be deemed to be registered under the Act. The primary responsibility of registrations as well as effective functioning of the CCIs vests with the State Governments/UT Administrations concerned. However, a mapping and review exercise was undertaken through Childline India Foundation (CIF) and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to understand the registration and  status of Institutions vis-à-vis the norms and standards prescribed under the JJ Act (2000/2015) across the country.

CIF has submitted the final data for 9589 number of homes mapped and reviewed across the country. Accordingly, ministry has requested to all the State Govt./UTs vide letter dated 10th March, 4th May and 1st December, 2017 respectively, to ensure registration and appropriate action for rehabilitation of children in need of care and protection. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India vide its Order dated 5th May, 2017 on Writ Petition (C) No. 102 of 2007 has also directed that all unregistered CCIs be registered by 31st December, 2017. Accordingly, as stated, the State Governments/UTs have been requested to ensure registration of all CCIs either run by State Government or by voluntary or non-governmental organizations. As per the information provided by the State/UT Governments, as on date, the number of Child Care Institutions (CCIs) registered under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000/2015 in the country alongwith the number of children residing in these institutions and which are being supported under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), is given below:

Category Children Home Beneficiaries Specialized Adoption Agencies (SAAs) Beneficiaries Open Shelter Beneficiaries
 

Total

1177 61423 354 3362 295 8023

 Ministry of Women and Child Development

 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Taking note of the rise in the crimes against children, the bench of Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta, JJ said that the definition of the expression “child in need of care and protection” under Section 2(14) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000  should not be interpreted as an exhaustive definition. The provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 do not provide any definition of a child in need of care and protection. But no one can deny that a child victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault or sexual harassment is a child in need of care and protection. Similarly in a given case, a child accused of an offence and brought before the Juvenile Justice Board or any other authority might also be a child in need of care and protection.  The Court said that it would be unfortunate if certain categories of children are left out of the definition, even though they need as much care and protection as categories of children specifically enlisted in the definition.

The bench also gave elaborate directions in order to ensure the welfare of the children in need of care and protection, some of the important directions are as follows:

  • The Union Government and the governments of the States and Union Territories must ensure that the process of registration of all child care institutions is completed positively by 31.12.2017 with the entire data being confirmed and validated. Inspection Committees should also be set up on or before 31.07.2017 to conduct regular inspections of child care institutions and to prepare reports of such inspections.
  • The governments of the States and Union Territories should draw up plans for full and proper utilization of grants (along with expenditure statements) given by the Union Government under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme.
  • The schemes of the Government of India including skill development, vocational training etc must be taken advantage of for the rehabilitation and social re-integration of children in need of care and protection.
  • Individual child care plans are extremely important and all governments of the States and Union Territories must ensure that there is a child care plan in place for every child in each child care institution on or before 31.12.2017.
  • State and Union Territory Government must establish State Commission for Protection of Child Rights on or before 31.12.2017. The SCPCRs so constituted must publish an Annual Report so that everyone is aware of their activities and can contribute individually or collectively for the benefit of children in need of care and protection.
  • The process of conducting a social audit must be taken up in right earnestness by the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights as well as by each State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights to bring transparency and accountability in the management.

Stating that every child in need of care and protection must not be placed in a child care institutions, the Court said that alternatives such as adoption and foster care need to be seriously considered by the concerned authorities. The Court said that a status report of the compliance of the aforementioned directions be submitted before the Court on or before 15.01.2018. [Re: Exploitation of Children in Orphanages in the State of Tamil Nadu v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 534, decided on 05.05.2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Bench comprising of A.S. Oka and A.A. Sayed, JJ has held that according to the Directive Principles of State Policy read along with the provisions of Section 34 of the  Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and Section 50 of the said Act of 2015, it is the obligation of the State to establish and maintain an adequate number of children’s homes with the help of voluntary organizations and to also determine the MDC home requirements in the State.

This suo motu public interest litigation was initiated on the basis of a report in the Daily on 24-08-2010 about the inhuman condition of the Children’s Home by the name Satkarm Balgriha at Shahpur, District Thane.   All the children living in the said Children’s Home are mentally challenged.  It was reported that recently five children died due to starvation and malnutrition. By an order dated 3-09-2010, the Court on the basis of the said report, appointed Dr. Asha Bajpai, the Chairperson of the Centre for Socio ­Legal Studies and Human Rights, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to assist the Court as Amicus Curiae.

The Court also directed the State Government to pay grant at the rate of Rs. 2000 and Rs. 1500 per head per month to the MDC homes and to other children’s homes respectively, and also to pay a grant of Rs. 500 per head per month towards the administration purpose.

The Court also directed the continuation of the Co-ordination Committees and Divisional Co-ordination Committees and to add persons working from finance and law to the State level Co-ordination Committee. The order to nominate a Judicial Officer should continue with the direction to the Judicial Officer to forward the report of inspection to the State level Co-ordination Committee.

The Court also directed the State government to pay proper allowances including travel allowance to the members of the Committee for attending meetings and visiting the MDC homes, and to ensure that all children up to the age of fourteen in the MDC homes will get compulsory education. The State Co-ordination Committee was told to identify the institutions which provide for the children of MDC home after they attain majority and issue a scheme to accommodate these children after they attain the age of majority. [Article in Mumbai Mirror, Rescue Sham v. State of Maharashtra, 2017 SCC OnLine Bom 418, order dated 07-04-2017]