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THERE CAN BE NO JOINT PROCEEDINGS OF A ‘JUVENILE IN CONFLICT WITH LAW’ ALONG WITH A PERSON NOT A JUVENILE: PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT

This particular decision is upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court through the division bench of Justice Vinod S. Bhardwaj in the case of Sadhu Singh v State of Punjab and Others (CRM-M-8601-2022)

FACTS

The FIR in question has been registered at the instance of one Sarabjit Singh son of Piara Singh dated 19.07.2013 wherein he had alleged that he was Polling Agent of one Chamkaur Singh Sarpanch at the time of Panchayat Elections where a fight had occurred with Gurmeet Singh son of Surjan Singh who had intimidated the complainant. On the date of incident, Jagtar Singh Panch who had been elected from Ward No. 5 was thanking the voters from Gurudwara Sahib which agitated Gurmeet Singh and others and they tried to pick a fight which was however settled by the respectable persons of both the sides and the parties were separated. At about 11:00 a.m., the complainant was present in his house, 20-25 persons came on various vehicles carrying weapons and caused injuries. The petitioner was allegedly armed with a kirpan and is alleged to have participated in the commission of offence along with other co-accused. No injury was however attributed to the petitioner.

JUDGEMENT

As far as the order of proclamation of the petitioner is concerned, the court noted that mandatory period of 30 days as prescribed under Section 82 CrPC had not elapsed. The provision stipulates that if any Court has reason to believe that any person against whom a warrant has been issued by it has absconded or is concealing himself, such Court may publish a written proclamation requiring him to appear at a specified place and at a specified time not less than thirty days from the date of publishing such proclamation. As the offence in question was allegedly committed in 2013, the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 as amended were applicable and the petitioner who was less than 15 years old as on the date of commission of offence would fall under the definition of ‘Juvenile in conflict with law’, Court added. It further noted that a conjoint reading of Sections 2 (k), 2 (l), 2 (p), 15 and 18 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 clearly shows that there can be no joint proceedings of a ‘juvenile in conflict with law’ with a person who is not a juvenile. Therefore, order could only have been passed by the Juvenile Justice Board constituted under Chapter II of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 and the procedure contemplated therein was required to be followed. Since, the said procedure was not adopted while passing the order declaring petitioner as ‘proclaimed person’, the same was held to be without jurisdiction. Considering it from either of the perspective, the court noted the order passed under Section 82 (1) Cr.P.C was in violation of the statutory procedure prescribed under CrPC. Moreover, the said order was without authority since the juvenility of the petitioner was not a subject matter of dispute. In view of the above, the court allowed the petition and set aside the impugned order vide which the petitioner was declared as proclaimed offender.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NAISARGIKA MISHRA

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