The Patna High Court has held that appeals from a Juvenile Justice Board could be made only to Courts designated as “Children’s Courts” under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and Justice Ashwani Kumar Singh passed the order while disposing of a revision petition from a rejected bail appeal.
In the case before the Court, a juvenile, X, accused in a police-case described as the “Kasim Bazaar Case”, had applied for bail to the Juvenile Justice Board, Munger (Board). When his application was rejected, X appealed to the Sessions Court, Munger against the Board’s Order. This appeal was also rejected. A revision petition was then made to the High Court against the appeal.
Justice Singh reasoned :
- The JJ Act defines a Children’s Court as inclusive of a Court constituted under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 (2005 Act), a Court constituted under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), and failing the constitution of either of these, a Sessions Court.
- Further, the Bihar government had designated the 1st Additional District and Sessions Judge, Munger as a “Special Court” not from juvenile justice board under the 2005 Act.
- The POCSO declares Special Courts constituted under the 2005 Act as “Special Courts” for the application of the POCSO, in addition to Courts established thereunder. Thus, the 1st Additional District and Sessions Judge comprised a “Special Court” under the POCSO and not to hear bail from Juvenile Justice board.
Since the Juvenile Justice board and act recognised Children’s Courts as those established by the 2005 Act and Special Courts under POCSO, the 1st Additional District and Sessions Judge, Munger, is a “Children’s Court”, it was found. The Court proceeded to hold,
“Since the Court of 1st Additional District and Session Judge in each of the session division has been designated as Special Court under the Child Rights Act, 2005 and such courts are existing and such courts are also deemed to be Special Court under the proviso to Section 28(1) of the POCSO Act, in terms of the definition of the Children’s Court, as provided under Section 2(20) of the Act of 2015, only the court of 1st Additional District and Session Judge in each of the session division is treated to be the Children’s Court. The Court of Session could have derived the jurisdiction of Children’s Court under the Act of 2015 only in absence of a court established under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 or a Special Court under the POCSO Act.”
The Court declared the Session Judge’s Order a nullity and ordered case-records to be sent forthwith to the Additional District and Session Judge- cum- Children’s Court, Munger.
Read the judgement here: