Published: 23rd August 2022
Delhi HC seeks NGO's report on guidelines for preliminary assessment to try juveniles as adults
The NGO has been asked by the High Court to file a report based on ground reality before proceeding further on the issue
On Tuesday, August 23, the Delhi High Court allowed a plea by HAQ Centre for Child Rights, an NGO, to intervene in a criminal reference relating to the issuance of guidelines to be followed by Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) in conducting preliminary assessment before sending a minor for trial as an adult, stated a copy in PTI.
A bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and Anish Dayal stated that in this reference since a larger issue has been raised regarding how preliminary assessment should be carried out, it would be appropriate to have a report on the ground reality.
The NGO has been asked by the High Court to file a report based on ground reality before proceeding further on the issue.
HAQ has filed an application seeking to be impleaded as an intervenor in the matter and to place on record certain material and advance submissions so that proper guidelines could be issued in respect of how preliminary assessment under Section 15 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is to be carried out.
"Consequently the application is disposed of. HAQ Centre for Child Rights is permitted to intervene in the reference. The report be filed by HAQ," the bench said.
Section 15 of the JJ Act provides that in case a child, between 16 to 18 years of age, has committed a heinous offence, the Juvenile Justice Board may conduct a preliminary assessment in order to assess the maturity level of the child, his mental and his physical capacity to conduct such an act.
Initially, all those children below 18 years were to be treated as a juvenile and tried by the JJB. But since the 2015 Act came into force, a separate category for juveniles between the age of 16 to 18 years involved in heinous crimes, was formed.
A preliminary enquiry needs to be carried out to ascertain if they are to be tried as a child or as an adult.