Refusing bail to a 15-year-old boy accused of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl, the Allahabad High Court recently observed that the law does not say that once a person is found to be a juvenile, he should be released on bail notwithstanding other facts and circumstances of the matter.
In light of Section 12(1) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, the bench of Justice Jyotsna Sharma said, “…it is clear that bail to a juvenile is not a must in all cases as it can be denied for certain reasons…It may be noted that the bail can also be denied if juvenile’s release, in the opinion of the Court, would defeat the ends of justice."
The court clarified that on the one hand, all decisions regarding the accused child should be based on the primary consideration of the best interest of the child, and on the other hand, the demands of justice on the other side cannot be simply shrugged off. “The concern of the victim’s family and the larger interest of the society cannot be dealt with in a contemptuous manner," the judge observed.
The court highlighted that in the present case, the accused boy had enticed away the victim girl in a well-planned manner by offering her sweets and had put her to violent sexual assault.
Therefore, considering the nature and manner of the crime and the trauma and shock caused to the victim and her family, the court dismissed the criminal revision plea moved by the accused boy against the rejection order of his bail plea by the Juvenile Justice Board and affirmed by the Special Judge (POCSO Act).
The First Information Report was lodged by the victim’s mother, alleging that when her 6-year-old daughter was playing outside the house, the accused juvenile lured her on the pretext of giving toffee and took her behind a hut, and raped her.
Seeking relief before the high court, the counsel for the accused argued that the orders of the Juvenile Justice Board and the Special Judge (POCSO Act) were arbitrary and against the mandate of section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act.
He submitted that the conclusion of the courts below was baseless that the accused’s parents did not have any control over him, therefore if released on bail, he shall be exposed to physical, moral, and psychological danger, and that the ends of justice shall stand defeated. He also informed the court about no prior criminal record of the juvenile.
However, the High Court opined that to give meaning to the phrase “ends of justice", the matter of bail has to be seen through a prism having three angles, i.e., firstly, the angle of welfare and betterment of the child itself, or the best interest of the child, secondly, the demands of justice to the victim and her family, and thirdly, the concerns of society at large.
“And in the end, the court has to depend upon its own robust sense of justice," the judge stressed.
Therefore, the court dismissed the revision plea and directed the Juvenile Justice Board to expedite the hearing and conclude it at the earliest.
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