Child in conflict of law can apply for anticipatory bail like other individuals: Bombay HC
The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday held that a child who is in conflict of law as per Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act (JJ Act), 2015 has same right as every other individual and can apply for an anticipatory bail under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
The bench noted that “if the accusations are made against a child with ill intention to cause humiliation and harassment, then the right to prefer application under Section 438 (direction by HC or sessions court for grant of bail to person apprehending arrest) of the CrPC. should be available to a child.”
A division bench of Justice Sarang V Kotwal and Justice Bharat P Deshpande passed a judgement while deciding a reference made by the single-judge bench of Justice Vibha V Kankanwadi, who rejected the anticipatory bail to the two applicants who were minors
Justice Kankanwadi had on May 6 rejected anticipatory bail pleas of two minors apprehending arrest in connection with a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and held their application under CrPC was not maintainable
Justice Kankanwadi, however referred an issue to the division bench to decide as to whether in absence of provisions of grant of anticipatory bail under the JJ Act, a juvenile in conflict with law can file such application under CrPC.
Senior Advocate Rajendra Deshmukh, Amicus Curiae in the case supported the view taken by the single-judge bench and said that there was no specific provision in the JJ Act for anticipatory bail.
Advocate Suvidh Kulkarni for applicants submitted that provision of section 438 of CrPC was available to “any person” including child as defined under the J J Act. Kulkarni added that “personal liberty of every person should be of the paramount consideration and none should be left remedy-less” and therefore the anticipatory bail plea by his clients was maintainable before the High Court.
Additional Public Prosecutor A V Deshmukh for the state submitted that the JJ Act treats the children in conflict of law as “victims” and ” not as offenders” and therefore separate and special procedure is provided as “the concept of arrest is foreign to the JJ Act.” Therefore the single-judge bench had rightly held the application by the juvenile was not maintainable, he said.
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