The Meghalaya High Court has asked all the Juvenile Justice Boards in the State to strictly adhere to the statutory provision of Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 while considering the issue of grant or refusal of bail for a Child in Conflict with Law (CCL) and to approach any case where a juvenile is involved with care and sensitivity.
The order was passed by Justice Wanlura Diengdoh on a revision petition filed by one Ngaitlang Suchiang on behalf of his nephew Emphi Suchiang who is a Child in Conflict with Law (CCL).
The petition filed under Section 102 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015 challenged the order dated September 28, 2020 passed by the Principal Magistrate, Juvenile Justice Board, Khliehriat rejecting the bail application filed on behalf of Emphi Suchiang.
The High Court in a verdict passed on November 12 set aside the order passed by the Principal Magistrate. The High Court also said that the order passed by the Principal Magistrate cannot stand the scrutiny of law.
Further, the High Court said that the interim bail granted to the Child in Conflict with Law (CCL) Emphi Suchiang is made absolute. It also directed the Principal Magistrate, JJB, Khliehriat to issue necessary orders for release of Emphi Suchiang on bail on the conditions that he shall provide personal surety of Rs 10,000 with one solvent surety of the like amount and that he shall be under the custody and care of his mother who shall ensure that counselling is given to him in this connection.
The brief facts of the case is that on August 27, 2020, an intimation report was received by the Jowai Police from Dr. D Nongpluh of Norman Tunnel Hospital, Jowai stating that on examination of an alleged victim (said to be 16 years of age), she discovered that the victim was pregnant and on enquiry, it was told that she had a physical relationship with Emphi Suchiang.
Accordingly, the said Khliehriat P.S. Case No. 34(9) 2020 was registered and the matter was forwarded to the Special Judge, POCSO Court, Khliehriat.
The Special Judge (POCSO) on examination of Emphi Suchiang and on perusal of the birth certificate came to a finding that he is a minor of about 17 years of age and accordingly by an order dated September 14, 2020, the Special Judge (POCSO) transferred the case to the Juvenile Justice Board, Khliehriat which directed that the boy be kept at the Observation Home (Boys), Shillong.
The mother of Emphi Suchiang then preferred a bail application under Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015 which was moved before the Principal Magistrate, JJB, Khliehriat on September 28, 2020.
However, the Principal Magistrate rejected the bail application mainly on the ground that at that juncture, the statement of the survivor is yet to be recorded under Section 164 CrPC.
Being highly aggrieved with the order, Ngaitlang Suchiang who is the uncle of the boy moved a revision petition in the High Court challenging the rejection of bail. He also stated in his petition that the Principal Magistrate, JJB has made a serious error in passing the order without taking into account the provision of Section 12(1) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015.