In a first,the Chandigarh district court will have a court which will exclusively decide cases of crime committed by juveniles. So that there is no undue delay in disposal of cases pertaining to juveniles,the Punjab and Haryana High Court has taken this decision on the administrative side.
At present,a senior civil judge in district court is tasked with the additional job of disposing of cases against juveniles in the capacity of Juvenile Justice Board (JJB). Such cases are heard twice a week. But now,a judge will only decide cases relating to crime committed by juveniles.
An official communication to this effect was shot off to the district courts on Monday. A copy of this has also been sent to all the district and sessions courts of Punjab and Haryana. The high court has decided that in all such district courts where there is a pendency of more than 100 cases,a judge of the rank of additional civil judge,senior division will exclusively hear such cases. He will not be saddled with additional task of deciding other cases. There are over 350 cases of crime against juveniles pending in Chandigarh district courts.
However,in districts where the pendency is less than 100 cases,the high court has asked the concerned courts to expedite the trials and dispose of such cases preferably within four months. The high court has directed the courts to dispose of cases in pursuance of Section 14 of the Juvenile Justice Act.
The relevant section reads,Provided that an
inquiry under this section shall be completed within a period of four months from the date of its commencement,unless the period is
extended by the board
having regard to the circumstances of the case and
in special cases after recording the reasons in writing
for such extension.
The court has made it clear that no other case except petty offences and summary cases will be entertained by the special court.
The official communication sent by the high court reads that the Chief Justice in consultation with other high court judges have decided to resolve that the district where more than 100 cases are pending before a Juvenile Justice Board (JJB),the same shall be handed over to a senior most magistrate of the rank of additional civil judge,senior division and where there is no additional civil Judge,junior division judge shall preside over the board.
The letter further reads that the special judges shall not be entrusted with any other work. The senior most judge in the Chandigarh district court will soon be given the charge by the district and sessions judge.
Talking to Newsline,a senior high court official said,the endeavour is to decide such cases without delay. It was observed that due to paucity of judges and heavy workload,disposal of such cases was taking long. Cases against juveniles need to be given priority.