AJEET GURJAR VS. THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA : September 26, 2023
Recently held that compliance with Section 19(1) sub clause (i) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 which requires the Children’s Court to hold an inquiry as to whether the alleged offender is to be tried as a child or an adult is not a mere formality.
Under Section 19(1) (i) of the JJ Act, the children’s Court is to conduct an inquiry to decide whether there is a need for trial of the child as an adult as per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The Court held that the inquiry under Section 18(3) of the JJ Act is only a preliminary assessment to pass an order for transferring the trial of the case to the Children’s Court and that further assessment under Section 19(1)(i) is required regarding the same.
As per Section 18 (3)
Where the Board after preliminary assessment under section 15 pass an order that there is a need for trial of the said child as an adult, then the Board may order transfer of the trial of the case to the Children’s Court having jurisdiction to try such offences.
As per the section 19 (1) After the receipt of preliminary assessment from the Board under section 15, the Children’s Court may decide that—
- There is a need for trial of the child as an adult as per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) and pass appropriate orders after trial subject to the provisions of this section and section 21, considering the special needs of the child, the tenets of fair trial and maintaining a child friendly atmosphere;
- There is no need for trial of the child as an adult and may conduct an inquiry as a Board and pass appropriate orders in accordance with the provisions of section 18.
In this regard, the Court also said that the use of the word ‘may’ used in Clause (ii) of sub-section 1 of Section 19, will have to be read as ‘shall’.