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Section 14 – Inquiry by Board regarding juvenile – Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children)

Provided that an enquiry under this section shall be completed within a period of four months from the date of its commencement, unless the period is extended by the Board having regard to the circumstances of the case and in special cases after recording the reasons in writing for such extension.

[(2) The Chief Judicial Magistrate or the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate shall review the pendency of cases of the Board of every six months, and shall direct the Board to increase the frequency of its sittings or may cause the constitution of additional Boards.]

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Comment:

According to this section, when a juvenile in conflict with law is brought before the Juvenile Justice Board, the Board shall make an inquiry in his case under the provisions of the Act and pass orders as it deems fit.

The inquiry must be concluded by the Board within a period of four months from the date of its commencement, unless there are special reasons to extend this period. But the Board has to record reasons for such extension of period of inquiry in writing.

In the case of Tinku Kumar Prasad v. State of Jharkhand, the plea of accused being a juvenile was taken before the Trial Court, but no inquiry was conducted and the Trial Court went on recording evidence of witnesses. The High Court, therefore, issued directions to the Court of Session to send the case to competent Court to conduct inquiry and determine the age of the petitioner at relevant time.

Where the trial of the appellant was conducted by the Sessions Judge who had powers exercisable by the Juvenile Board constituted under the J.J. Act of 2000. Charge was framed, evidence was led by the prosecution and due opportunity was given to the accused to cross-examine the witnesses, statement of the accused was recorded and opportunity to lead evidence in defence was also given, but no objection was raised before the trial court about the competence of the court to proceed in the matter.

Therefore, could not be said that procedure adopted in the case was in any way prejudicial to his cause as compared to the procedure which ought to have been adopted in making an inquiry under Section 14 of the J.J. Act, 2000.

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