SUPREME COURT HELD THAT A CRIME COMMITTED AS A JUVENILE SHOULD NOT BE HELD AGAINST THE PERSON IN HIS/HER ADULTHOOD

The Supreme Court of India has in a recent case of Union of India vs. Ramesh Bishnoi 29-11-2019 held that, “The thrust of the legislation, i.e. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 as well as The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is that even if a juvenile is convicted, the same should be obliterated, so that there is no stigma with regard to any crime committed by such person as a juvenile. This is with the clear object to reintegrate such juvenile back in the society as a normal person, without any stigma.” This Judgement was given by Justice UU Lalit and Justice Vineet Saran, where they have dismissed an Appeal filed by Central Government in a matter concerning employment in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

In this case, Mr. Ramesh Bishnoi (the Respondent) was denied employment in CISF, as at the time of appointment he had disclosed that previously he was charged with offences under Sections 354 (assault with intend to outrage the modesty of a woman), 447 (criminal trespass) and 509 (insult to outrage the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code as amended thereof (IPC) in 2009. These complaints were filed against him when he was minor. Also, the case was dismissed due to lack of evidence and he got acquitted with clean hands. But when his employment with CISF was rejected multiple times, the Rajasthan High Court passed directions to CISF to reconsider his application. Aggrieved by the said Order of the High Court, the Central Government approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court, whereby the Apex Court held that even if the Respondent committed such a crime when he was a minor, he could not be denied employment when he became a major, as any act or omission committed by a juvenile cannot be held against him when he attains majority.

Therefore, the Apex Court held that based on the principle of fresh start under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, all past records of any child under the juvenile justice system should be erased except in special circumstances. This further helps to maintain the dignity of a person who has been convicted or charged for any offence when he was a juvenile.

Aakritee Gambhir

The Indian Lawyer

Associate

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