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Juvenile Justice Act: Grant of Bail, the Norm, Says P&H HC While Reprimanding JJB Head For ‘Uncaring, Inept’ Denial of Bail

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday rapped the Presiding Officer of a Juvenile Justice Board, stating that an “uncaring and inept discharge of functions” by judicial officers entrusted with the duty of giving effect to a “welfare legislation” would defeat the very purpose of constituting such Boards. Displeased at a “mechanical” refusal of regular bail to a minor boy in a matter where even the main accused stood acquitted, the High Court went to the extent of requiring the concerned Administrative Judge “for taking necessary remedial action, as deemed fit, for improving the standard of functioning of the Principal Magistrate concerned”. Reprimanding the Magistrate for “this mechanical reproduction of the legal provision”, the bench minced no words in calling it a “mere lip service by the learned Principal Magistrate to the legal requirement” which was to “no avail”. The bench stated that the very constitution of a Juvenile Justice Board, headed by a Metropolitan Magistrate with at least three years experience, is with the intention that such an experienced judicial officer, assisted by two social workers, would be conscious of their pious duty to ensure protection of the rights of juveniles.

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