Libertatem Magazine

Commentary on Pratap Singh v. State of Jharkhand

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In 1986, the Juvenile Justice Act came into effect on the entire nation. Before 1986, the juvenile justice system was restricted to the states of India. There was no national law on child justice. Another juvenile justice law came into effect in 2000. The juvenile justice Act of 2000 repealed the juvenile justice Act of 1986. Another “Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act” came into effect in 2015.

These Rules aim to provide a youth justice system different from the adult justice system that applies to older persons (18 years or older).

The purpose of introducing the Juvenile Justice Act was to provide better protection and care for children. The main purpose is to provide, protect, treat, develop and rehabilitate young children involved in crime (criminal children). The social situation of the child can be in such a way that it can mislead the innocent mind of the child. Children are the most vulnerable. Their minds are pure and they can easily be misled. Therefore, the social environment of children should be considered more important than the criminal power that the child has committed. This is the purpose of the Act. The Act focuses on child abuse and neglect. It is for the protection of such children. The Act also focuses on the introduction of an informal plan to provide care, protection, and treatment to children. Children’s welfare organizations are focused on them. The justice system that works for adults is too difficult to apply to children. Therefore, the Act focuses on the introduction of a separate child justice system. Various norms and standards must be introduced by the Act to protect children. 

Case:- Pratap Singh v. State of Jharkhand, 2005

Facts of the case:

The opponent Pratap Singh was abducted to kidnap and murder the deceased by poisoning, conspiring with others on 31st December 1998. He was arrested and produced before Chief Judicial Magistrate on 22nd November 1999. In response to a request that on the day he was a juvenile under the 1986 law, the case was referred to the Juvenile Court. Satisfied with his professional years based on the school certificate the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate released the complainant on bail. Annoyed by the release, the complainant filed a complaint before the Additional Sessions Judge. Additional Sessions Judge relied on Amit Das v. State of Bihar case and also ordered a re-investigation of the matter for years. The plaintiff chose a criminal review before the Supreme Court and relied on the Amit Das case and overturned the review. The matter was eventually settled before the Supreme Court, due to conflicting decisions in Umesh Chandra v. State of Rajasthan and Amit Das v. State of Bihar and it was referred to the Constitutional Bench of Five Judges.

Issues were:

(1) The question was that whether the date of the incident will be the date of occurrence of crime to determine the age of the alleged accused or the date on which he or she was produced before a competent court/authority?

(2) Whether the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 will apply in the case where the continuation of the law is initiated under the 1986 Act?


The result of the dispute was that the Supreme Court upheld the decision of Umesh Chandra v State of Rajasthan, as the appropriate law for determining the age of the child. Therefore, the date on which this matter took place was considered as the appropriate date for determining the age of the child and not the date of production, by the Supreme Court of India.

The outcome of the dispute was that the Supreme Court upheld the application of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 as applicable in pending cases of the 1986 Act. It may enhance the protection and care that will be provided through the application of the 2000 Act.


Pratap Singh v State of Jharkhand comes under one of the landmark cases related to Juvenile Justice. The extent of care and protection provided to children was concentrated on the case. In-depth analysis, the case reveals the conclusion that child development is one of the key developments in the nation.

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