Juvenile cases to be disposed off by bench only: Himachal HC

Shimla, Nov 24 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Friday set aside a Juvenile Justice Board judgment relating to a criminal offence, as it was delivered by the Principal Magistrate alone without involving the board’s other two members.

Directing the juvenile board to decide the case afresh, Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan said: “A case can be finally disposed off (by juvenile board) only by at least two members, including the Principal Magistrate, present at the time of disposal of such case.”

“No individual member, including the Principal Magistrate, and no two members, excluding the Principal Magistrate, can finally dispose off the case,” he said.

Disposing off the revision petition against an acquittal, Justice Chauhan said the impugned order passed by the Principal Magistrate on December 29 last year was “coram non judice” and is accordingly quashed and set aside.

“Coram non judice” means the case is before a judge not competent or without jurisdiction.

“It’s clear that a Juvenile Justice Board is to be three-member board consisting of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class, as the case may be, and two social workers of whom at least one shall be a woman, forming a bench and the magistrate on the board is to be designated as the Principal Magistrate,” he said.

Justice Chauhan has directed the parties to appear before the juvenile board in Shimla on December 11.

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