Section 15 – Order that may be passed regarding juvenile – Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children)

(b) Direct the juvenile to participate in group counselling and similar activities;

(c) Order the juvenile to perform community service;

(d) Order the parent of the juvenile or the juvenile himself to pay a fine, if he is over fourteen years of age and earns money;

(e) Direct the juvenile to be released on probation of good conduct and placed under the care of any parent, guardian or other fit person, or such parent, guardian or other fit person executing a bond, with or without surety, as the Board may require, for the good behaviour and well-being of the juvenile for any period not exceeding three years;

(f) Direct the juvenile to be released on probation of good conduct and placed under the care of any fit institution for the good behaviour and well-being of juvenile for any period not exceeding three years;

[(g) Make an order directing the juvenile to be sent to a special home for a period of three years:

Provided that the Boards may, if it is satisfied that having regard to the nature of the offence and the circumstances of the case, it is expedient so to do, for reasons to be recorded, reduce the period of stay to such period as it thinks fit.]

(2) The Board shall obtain the social investigation report on juvenile either through a Probation Officer or a recognised voluntary organisation or otherwise, and shall take into consideration the findings of such report before passing an order.

(3) Where an order under clause (d), (e) or (J) of sub-section (1) is made, the Board may, if it is of opinion that in the interests of the juvenile and of the public, it is expedient so to do, in addition make an order that the juvenile in conflict with law shall remain under the supervision of a Probation Officer named in the order during such period, not exceeding three years as may be specified therein, and may in such supervision order impose such conditions as it deems necessary for the due supervision of the juvenile in conflict with law:

Provided that if at any time afterwards it appears to the Board on receiving a report from the Probation Officer or otherwise, that the juvenile in conflict with law has not been of good behaviour during the period of supervision or that the fit institution under whose care the juvenile was placed is no longer able or willing to ensure the good behaviour and well-being of the juvenile it may, after making such inquiry as it deems fit, order the juvenile in conflict with law to be sent to a special home.

(4) The Board shall while making a supervision order under sub-section (3), explain to the juvenile and the parent, guardian or other fit person or fit institution, as the case may be, under whose care the juvenile has been placed, the terms and conditions of the order and shall forthwith furnish one copy of the supervision order to the juvenile, the parent, guardian or other fit person or fit institution, as the case may be, the sureties, if any, and the Probation Officer.

Comment:

The section enumerates the various orders that may be passed by the Juvenile Justice Board against the juvenile found guilty of an offence.

Discharge after Admonition:

In case the offence is not of a serious nature, the Board may order discharge of the juvenile after admonition. The provisions relating to discharge an offender after admonition are also contained in Section 3 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958. Generally, the Court or the Board will pass an order of discharge of juvenile after admonition in the following cases :—

(i) Any offence which is punishable under Sections 379, 380, 381, 404 or 420 of the Indian Penal Code;

(ii) Offences which are punishable with less than two years’ imprisonment with or without fine under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being in force.

But the pre-condition for such release is that there should be no previous conviction of the accused or the juvenile.

In Jaipal Singh Tej Singh v. Ram Avtar Devilal, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh held that for allowing the benefit of release after admonition to an accused, the Court (for the purpose of J.J. Act, the Juvenile Justice Board) shall take into consideration (i) the circumstances of the case; (ii) the nature of the offence; and (iii) the character and antecedents of the accused or juvenile, as the case may be.

While discharging the juvenile after admonition, the Board should warn him that he shall have to face the sentence in case he repeats the offence or commits any other offence in future. This view finds support in the decision in State v. Ghanshaymdas, wherein the Court held that, “admonition by a Judge is a reprimand, a censure or a re-proof warning the accused that he is let-off, but in case of repetition he will be punished severely in accordance with law.”

Release of Juvenile on Probation of good conduct:

The Juvenile Justice Board may order the release of juvenile in conflict with law on probation of good conduct and place him under the care of his parents, guardian or any other proper person. Having regard to the circumstances of the case, the Board may also direct the juvenile to enter into a bond, with or without sureties. But the period of such order of release on probation shall not exceed three years.

Besides, the Board may order the placement of the Juvenile in a Special Home. But the period of such placement—

(i) Shall not be less than two years where the age of juvenile is more than 17 years but less than 18 years;

(ii) In case of other juveniles, until they complete the age of being treated as juvenile, i.e., eighteen years, both for boys as well as girls.

The release of a person on probation being a treatment reaction to crime, it offers an opportunity to the juvenile to reform and rehabilitate himself. This is why it is considered as a better alternative for the juveniles in conflict with law rather than their prisonisation where there are chances of their contamination in association with hardened criminals. But at the same time, the Board should make sure that release of juvenile on probation is not being misused by him for ulterior purposes.

It is the discretion of the Court to allow the benefit of release on probation to an accused but such discretion should be exercised judicially and probation should not be allowed in cases of serious offences.

In Municipal Corporation, Delhi v. Rattan Lai, it was held that while allowing the benefit of release on probation to an accused, the Court should take into consideration (i) the circumstances of the case; (ii) the nature of the offence; (iii) age and character of the offender, and his antecedents; (iv) family background; and (v) previous conviction of the accused, if any.

The Board may also order under this section that juvenile be placed under the supervision of the Probation Officer for a period not exceeding three years where it finds that such placement is in the interest of the juvenile or in public interest. The Probation Officers shall submit the periodical report about the juvenile and his progress in reformation.

Where on the basis of the Probation Officer’s report the Board finds that the juvenile is not keeping good behaviour or it is difficult to keep him under control, it may order the placement of such probationer juvenile to Special Home.

Where the Board orders the custody of the juvenile to any person or Special Home, care has to be taken to ensure that he is not being imparted any religious education which is contrary to his own religious faith or conviction.