Madhya Pradesh High Court: Refusal of Bail to a Juvenile Would Be Against the Intention of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

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The accused/petitioner allegedly committed rape on 21.10.2019. The prosecutrix was 18-year old whereas the accused was over 17-year old. Thereafter, the accused filed a bail application. This application was filed under Section 12 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

The Principle Judge, Juvenile Justice Board, Bhind (MP) rejected the bail application on 09.12.2019. While, the Third Additional Sessions Judge, Bhind (MP) rejected the application on 18.02.2020. 

Thus, the juvenile has filed revision petition in the High Court. Moreover, this petition is under Section 102 of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015. In this case, Mr. Alok Sharma represented the petitioner. The said case was to be heard in front of the Jabalpur bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Contentions of the Petitioner

The counsel submitted the proof of age for application of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015. According to Section 2(35) of the Act, ‘juvenile is a child below the age of 18 years.’

It was further contended, that the petitioner has been in custody since 09.12.2019. Additionally, the counsel submitted the favorable report of the Probation Officer. This report may forbid the invocation of exclusionary clause mentioned in Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015. This clause refers to reasonable grounds for rejection of the bail. These grounds include, to not expose the child to moral, physical or psychological danger. Else it would defeat the ends of justice. 

Further, the counsel referred to the suo moto cognizance of the Supreme Court in the wake of pandemic. Here it was mentioned, that the order of the apex court via W.P. (C) No. 1/2020 has directed all the States to consider decongestion of the prisons. This provides for release of the accused as an under trial prisoner. 

Contentions of the Respondent

The counsel has placed reliance on grounds of prior rejection of bail by the Board. The Additional Sessions Judge passed order citing the seriousness of the crime. 

Moreover, the release of the delinquent juvenile defeated the end of justice. He also contended the existence of reasonable grounds for the exception as mentioned under Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.

Ratio Decidendi

The Court held the intention of the Legislature on a higher pedestal than the otherwise suggested punitive element.

It asserted:

“It cannot be lost sight off the fact that the said provision is indicative of the intent of the Legislature that a juvenile offender should not be kept in custody normally except in the circumstances narrated in Section 18 of the Act”.

Court’s Decision

The Single Judge bench of Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava passed the said Order. The Judge also said, that the “Refusal of Bail to a Juvenile Would Be Against the Intention of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015”.


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