An unfortunate incident took place on 08.09.2017 in an institution in Gurugram.
Bholu’s D.o.B. – 03/04/2001.
The ‘preliminary assessment’ made by Juvenile Justice Board under Section 15 of The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is under consideration. A ’preliminary assessment’ decides on transferring the case of a ‘child’ between 16 to 18 years of age to Children’s Court. Life Imprisonment can be awarded, if Children’s Court tries the ‘child’ as an ‘adult’.
Board and Children’s Court apparently were of view, if Bholu had the mental capacity to commit an offence, then Bholu automatically had the capacity to understand the ‘consequences’. This, in our consideration, is a grave error; ‘consequences’, as used in Section 15, would not just be confined to ‘immediate consequences’.
A ‘preliminary assessment’ is largely dependent upon Board’s wisdom, in absence of any framework of guidelines. It is a delicate task. It appears expedient, appropriate and specific guidelines in this regard are put in place.
We have no hesitation in agreeing with High Court in remanding Bholu’s matter for a fresh consideration after rectifying errors on lack of adequate opportunity.
– Hon’ble Justice Vikram Nath, CBI v. Bholu, [Criminal Appeal No. 951 of 2022].