No FIR to be Registered against Juveniles

No FIR shall be filed against juveniles

No FIR shall be registered in respect of any serious or petty offence committed by juveniles, states the High Court of Kerala in Don Biju Mathew v Sub Inspector of Police, Kuravilangadu and Another.

FIR was filed & police report filed against a juvenile

The prosecution allegation in the above case is that the petitioner, a child of 16 years in conflict with law then, along with the first accused outraged the modesty of the minor girl aged 14 years. After conducting the investigation, the police filed their final report on 31/10/2018 against the petitioner and the first accused together, without taking into account the then age of the petitioner.

The petitioner, a juvenile then, approached the High Court with a criminal Miscellaneous Case to quash the final report on the ground that he was a juvenile at the time of occurrence of the crime and the procedures mandated by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, (JJ Act) and its rules were not complied with.

Procedure to be followed in cases against juvenile

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Model Rules 2016 lay down the procedure to be followed in the case of Juvenile in conflict with law. The rules provide no power to the police to apprehend a child who is involved in a serious or petty offence, unless it is for the best interest of the child.

In any case involving juveniles, Special Juvenile Police Unit or Child Welfare Police Officer shall record information regarding the offence alleged to have been committed by the child in the General Diary (GD). It should be followed by the preparation of a Social Background Report of the child in Form 1 delineating the circumstances under which the child was apprehended. The report should be forwarded to the Juvenile Justice Board (JJ Bord) before its first hearing of the case.

In the case of a serious or petty offence, the police or Special Juvenile Police Unit or Child Welfare Police Office shall intimate the parents or guardian to produce the child for hearing before the JJ Board.

The JJ Board, after hearing connected persons and connected papers, may pass appropriate orders, such as disposing of, or referring it to child care and protection, or putting the child to supervision of someone, or directing the child to be kept in child care institutions, pending enquiry under rule 10 of the model rules.

The Supreme Court (SC) in Dr Subramanian Swamy & Others v Raju through JJ Board & Another pointed out that the FIR and Charge Sheet in respect of Juvenile offenders is filed only in serious cases where punishment exceeds 7 years. The enquiry to be conducted in any such case should be a child friendly one but not an adversarial one.

High Court can quash such proceedings

The High Court can quash the proceedings before the JJ board in deserving cases in exercise of its inherent powers under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).