Decided on October 17,2000

STATE OF M.P. Respondents


- (1.)THIS application under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is directed against the order, framing charge, dated 25.8.2000 passed by Ilnd Additional Sessions Judge, Jagdalpur in Sessions Trial No. 312/2000. The learned Ilnd Additional Sessions Judge, Jagdalpur, by order dated 10.7.2000, on the basis of the medical report, held that the applicant is more than 16 (sixteen) years of age and, therefore, he is not a juvenile within the meaning of section
(2.)(h) of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 (henceforth 'the Act'). 2. The Act came into force on 3.12.1986 and was made for care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of neglected or delinquent juveniles and for the adjudication of certain matters relating to, and disposition of, delinquent juveniles by a special Court known as Juvenile Court constituted under section 5 of the Act. So far as a male person is concerned, a person will be deemed to be a juvenile if he has not attained the age of commission of crime.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon a Court trying a person to find out if he is liable to get the benefit of the Act. Section 32 of the Act gives power to the competent authority to make a due enquiry regarding the age of a person after recording evidence as may be necessary. It is required to give a finding whether a person is juvenile or not after recording evidence and stating his age as far as nearly as may be. The competent authority has been defined in the Act under section 2(d) thereof which says that competent authority means, in relation to neglected juveniles, a Board and, in relation to delinquent juveniles, a Juvenile Court and where no such Board or Juvenile Court has been constituted, includes any Court empowered under sub -section (2) of section 7 of the Act to exercise the powers conferred on a Board or Juvenile Court. However, under sub -section (3) of section 7 of the Act, an additional power has been conferred upon the High Court and the Court of Session to determine if a person is a juvenile when a proceeding comes before it either in appeal, revision or otherwise. The use of the word 'otherwise' in section 7(3) of the Act indicates that the Court of Session shall have power to exercise the powers of a competent authority in respect of delinquent juveniles during the pendency of the sessions trial.

(3.)IT does not appear from the order dated 10.7.2000 or any order before framing charge against the applicant that such enquiry was made by the Court of Session. Merely because some material was placed in the shape of medical opinion before the learned Ilnd Additional Sessions Judge, Jagdalpur, it cannot be inferred that an enquiry within the meaning of section 32( 1) of the Act was taken -up by the Court of Session. The learned Ilnd Additional Sessions Judge appears to have framed the charge against the applicant without recording a finding in accordance with section 32(1) of the Act if the applicant is juvenile or not.

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