‘Juveniles can’t be arrested, need not seek anticipatory bail': Madras High Court
By Team Legistify / 2017-05-17

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The Madras High Court has ruled that a juvenile accused of committing a crime cannot be arrested and this legal position obviates the need for them to seek anticipatory bail.

The ruling was given by a division bench of justices S Nagamuthu and Anita Sumanth, which had been tasked by the then Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul to determine if a plea by “a juvenile in conflict with law” seeking anticipatory bail was maintainable.

Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Nagamuthu said a study of the Juvenile Justice Act makes it clear that no police officer has been empowered to arrest “a child in conflict with the law” but only to “apprehend” him or her.

Making it clear that there cannot be fear of arrest in the case of a juvenile, the judge said, accordingly, a plea seeking anticipatory bail at the instance of the child in conflict with the law was not maintainable either before the high court or the sessions court, the judge said.

“Had it been the intention of the legislature that a police officer should be empowered to arrest a child in conflict with the law, it would have used the expression ‘arrest’ instead of ‘apprehend’ in the Juvenile Justice Act.”

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