August 12, 2021 9:05:46 am
While allowing the bail plea of a juvenile apprehended in a POCSO case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court held that “it is settled position of law that gravity or seriousness of the offence would not be a ground to decline concession of bail to the juvenile”.
The juvenile, who had been booked on November 11, 2020, under Sections 376, 376 AB IPC and Section 6 of the POCSO Act at PS Moonak, District Sangrur, has moved to HC, challenging the order of Juvenile Board and ASJ, Ludhiana, which dismissed his bail plea.
The counsel for the juvenile argued that the bail pleas of juvenile dismissed by both the courts below only on the ground that the victim is aged five years and since the petitioner and the victim belong to the same village, his release would defeat the ends of justice. The counsel claimed that perusal of the order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Sangrur, would reflect that there is no evidence on record to establish that fear.
The bench of Justice Jaishree Thakur, going by the Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, held, “From a bare reading of the provisions of Section 12 of the J.J. Act, it appears that the intention of the legislature is to grant bail to the juvenile irrespective of the nature or gravity of the offence alleged to have been committed by him, and bail can be declined only in such cases where reasonable grounds are there for believing that the release is likely to bring the juvenile into association of any known criminal or expose him to moral, physical or psychological danger, or that his release would defeat the ends of justice. Meaning thereby, as per aforesaid provision, a juvenile can be denied the concession of bail, if any of the three contingencies specified under Section 12 (1) of the J.J. Act is available.”
The judge said: “There is no doubt that the Juvenile Justice Act is a beneficial legislation and it is settled position of law that gravity or seriousness of the offence would not be a ground to decline concession of bail to the juvenile”.
The HC then set aside the order of the lower courts, and allowed the Juvenile to be released on bail subject to his furnishing bail bond/surety bonds amounting to Rs 25,000 each through his natural guardian or near relative, on a condition that petitioner will not enter into the locality of the victim and will also not indulge himself in extending inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the Court.
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