The Patna High Court is of the view that the conditions as enunciated in Section 37 of The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, will not be applicable in the case of a juvenile.
Justice Sudhir Singh also opined that the intention of the legislature was to given an overriding effect to Section 12 of Juvenile Justice Act Patna High Court over Section 37 of the NDPS Act.
This sufficiently indicates that in the matter of granting of bail of a Juvenile, Section 37 of the NDPS Act has no bearing and the matter will be dealt in accordance with Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
Section 12 of Juvenile Act provides Bail to a person who is apparently a child alleged to be in conflict with law.
Section 37 of the NDPS Act provides that what Offences under this act to be consider as cognizable and non bailable.
Brief Background of the Case:
The Patna High Court was hearing the instant appeal against the order passed by the Children’s Court under Sections 20(b), 23, 25 and 29 of the N.D.P.S. Act, whereby the prayer for bail made on behalf of the appellant (petitioner therein) having been rejected
It was alleged in the complaint that the appellant was working as a Khalasi of a truck where huge quantity i.e., 1814.70 kgs., of Ganja is said to have been recovered
Thereafter he took plea that he was a juvenile on the date of occurrence of crime. As a result of which, the proceedings before the Juvenile Justice Board (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Board’) got initiated.
The Board assessed the age of the appellant as 16 years 09 months and 21 days. Therefore, the appellant was declared to be a juvenile; more appropriately called a ‘child in conflict with law’.
However, the Board after conducting preliminary assessment with regard to the mental and physical capacity of the appellant passed an order under Section 18(3) of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, and transferred the case for trial to the Children’s Court.
The Board was of view of the fact that the age of the appellant was more than 16 years and the offence allegedly committed by him falls into the category of ‘heinous offences’
Thereafter, the appellant moved before the Children’s Court for grant of bail. The Children’s Court vide its order dated 27.08.2019 rejected the bail application of the appellant.
Hence, this appeal having been preferred by the appellant, challenging the rejection order and for grant of bail.
Issue raised before the court:
Whether the prayer for bail of a juvenile is required to be considered in accordance with Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act or in accordance with the provision of Section 37 of the NDPS Act?
After considering the decisions in Praveen Kumar Maurya Vs. State of U.P. 2011 Cr. L.J. 200 , Sumanta Bindhani Vs. State of Orissa 2017(I)OLR 1137 & Ranjit Paika and Ors. Vs. State of Orissa 2018 (II)OLR1, the court observed that there is no doubt that Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and NDPS Act, 1985 are Central legislations and both have been enacted by the Parliament as Special Laws dealing with particular objects.
The bench noted that The NDPS Act, is a penal statute enacted for prohibition, control and regulation of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances whereas, the Juvenile Justice Act, inter alia deals with those children alleged and found to be in conflict with law. The Juvenile Justice Act lays down the procedure as to how the children who are in conflict with law shall be dealt within the matter of apprehension, detention, prosecution etc.
In the backdrop, the Court remarked that “The non-obstante clause contained in Section 12 not only confers a special status over the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, but also over any other law for the time being in force.Further, no exception being carved out for the offences related to NDPS Act, sufficiently indicates that the intention of the legislature was to given an overriding effect to Section 12 of Juvenile Justice Act over Section 37 of the NDPS Act also.”
The Court pointed out that order under challenge itself showed that the prayer of bail of the appellant has not been considered in terms of Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and there is no finding about the conditions prescribed under Section 12 for rejection of bail of a juvenile.
The bench noted that appellant had been working for gain in association with the driver and the carrier of Ganja, who all were involved in illegal transportation of Ganja.
The Court taking into consideration that the release of the appellant would likely to bring him in the association of such persons who are involved in illegal transportation of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances, thus appellant’s release would defeat the ends of justice. Hence, the court was not inclined to grant bail to the appellant.
This appeal is, therefore, accordingly, dismissed. However, the learned court below is directed to expedite the trial and conclude the same preferably within a period of six months from the date of receipt/production of copy of this order