Section 7 – Procedure to be followed by a Magistrate not empowered under the Juvenile Justice Act
(2) The competent authority to which the proceeding is forwarded under sub-section (1) shall hold the inquiry as if the juvenile or the child had originally been brought before it.
This section provides that when a juvenile in conflict with law is produced before a Magistrate who does not have jurisdiction and power conferred to the Juvenile Justice Board or the Court under the Act, the Magistrate shall direct that the juvenile be produced before the competent authority having jurisdiction over the proceeding and also forward the record of the proceedings along with his opinion. This situation may arise where there is no Board or competent authority having jurisdiction available at the place or district where the juvenile has committed the offence.
The competent authority, to which the case of juvenile is forwarded with record and opinion of the Magistrate, shall hold the inquiry as if the juvenile or the child had been originally brought before him.
Before sending the case to the Board or competent authority having jurisdiction, the forwarding Magistrate has to make sure that the person brought before him is a juvenile or child on the basis of the age as recorded in the register of Births and death.
In Pankaj v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the High Court of Allahabad held that the preliminary enquiry under this section (i.e., Section 7) as to authenticity of claim whether the juveniles deserved reformative measures to be taken or not could be conducted by Sessions Judge as provided by Section 6 (2) of the J.J. Act, 2000.
Therefore, non- examination of claim of application by the Sessions Judge solely on the ground that Juvenile Justice Board had been constituted was improper and unsustainable. The High Court directed that the accused persons who claimed themselves to be juveniles, were at liberty to move another application and on receipt of such application, the Sessions Judge to make a preliminary enquiry in accordance with law and refer the matter to the Juvenile Justice Board, if findings were positive and in favour of the said juveniles.
The competent authority is empowered to commit the case to Court of Session, if necessary.
[7-A. Procedure to be followed when claim of juvenility is raised before any Court:
(1) Whenever a claim of juvenility is raised before any Court or a Court is of the opinion that an accused person was a juvenile on the date of commission of offence, the Court shall make an inquiry, take such evidence as may be necessary (but not an affidavit) so as to determine the age of such person, and shall record a finding whether the person is a juvenile or a child or not, stating his age as nearly as may be:
Provided that a claim of juvenility may be raised before any Court and it shall be recognised at any stage, even after final disposal of the case, and such claim shall be determined in terms of the provisions contained in this Act and the rules made there under, even if the juvenile has ceased to be so on or before the date of commencement of this Act.
(2) If the Court finds a person to be a juvenile on the date of commission of the offence under sub-section (1), it shall forwarded the juvenile to the Board for passing appropriate order, and the sentence if any, passed by a Court shall be deemed to have no effect.]
This new Section 7-A has been inserted in the Principal Act by Section 8 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) (Amendment) Act, 2006, which came into force on 22nd August, 2006.