The Karnataka High Court on 27th February, 2023 has made it clear that once an order is passed under Section 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, holding that a child in conflict with law is required to be tried for heinous offences as an adult, the JJ Board has no jurisdiction to consider the bail application pending before it. This is the case of ABC v. State of Karnataka (CRL.R.P. NO. 1372 OF 2022) and this is presided over by a single bench of Justice S Vishwajith Shetty.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
This criminal revision petition under Section 102 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 has been preferred by the child in conflict with law/petitioner challenging the judgment and order passed by the Court of Principal Sessions Judge, Mandya and passed by the Juvenile Justice Board, Mandya. A criminal case was registered against the petitioner and others for the offences punishable under Sections 341, 302, 120B, 109 read with 34 IPC. It is averred in the complaint that her son Raghu was murdered by the petitioner at the instance of other accused persons and during the course of investigation, the petitioner was arrested and he is in custody. The petitioner, initially, had filed an application under Section 12 of the Act before the Board seeking bail and the Board before considering the same, passed orders under Section 15 of the Act, and accordingly held that the bail application did not survive before it for consideration. The petitioner instead of challenging the said order in accordance with law, had filed a separate application under Section 439 Cr.PC before the Court of Principal Sessions Judge, Mandya, which was dismissed. Challenging the said order, the petitioner had approached this Court. In the said revision petition, the learned Counsel for the petitioner sought permission to withdraw the revision petition with liberty to exhaust the remedy of filing an appeal under Section 101 of the Act. This Court had, therefore, dismissed the said revision petition.The petitioner, thereafter, has preferred before the Court of Principal Sessions Judge, Mandya, under Section 101 of the Act. The same was dismissed by the Appellate Court. Learned Counsel for the petitioner contended “that the petitioner being aged below 18 years as on the date of the alleged incident, ought to have been granted bail having regard to Section 12 of the Act. He submits that the Board as well as the Appellate Court has failed to properly appreciate Section 12 of the Act.” learned HCGP appearing for the respondent State has argued in support of the impugned orders and submits that “the petitioner has attempted to escape from the Observation Home, Mysuru, and in this regard, a separate case has been registered. He submits that the material on record would go to show that the petitioner has not been co-operating for speedy disposal of the case and it is under these circumstances, his bail application has been rightly rejected, and accordingly, prays to dismiss the petition.”
The bench held “In the present case, the Board has passed an order in exercise of its power under Section 18(3) of the Act. Once such an order is passed by the Board, it has no jurisdiction to consider the bail application pending before it, and therefore, the Board had rightly rejected the same on the ground that the same will not survive for consideration…The juvenile has an option to file an appeal before the Sessions Court under Section 101(2) of the Act or he may also choose to file an application under Section 12 of the Act before the Children’s Court to which his case is transferred in compliance of the requirement under Section 18(3) of the Act by the Board after having passed an order under Section 15 of the Act.”
A single judge bench of Justice S Vishwajith Shetty added, “As against the said order, the juvenile has an option to file an appeal before the Sessions Court under Section 101(2) of the Act or he may also choose to file an application under Section 12 of the Act before the Children’s Court to which his case is transferred.”
Allowing the petition the court held “Since the learned Sessions Judge has failed to consider the appeal arising out of an order passed under Section 15 of the Act in compliance of the requirement of Section 101(2) of the Act, the impugned judgment and order passed by the Sessions Court, cannot be sustained”.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY PRATIKSHYA P. BEURA