Juvenile Justice Act essentially a social welfare law

What are the provisions for bail?

Whenever a juvenile is arrested for an alleged offence, he requires to be immediately produced before the Juvenile Justice Board. The law says that the Board, irrespective of the offence, should release him on bail, with or without any surety. However, the juvenile must be sent to an observation home or a "place of safety" by a speaking order of the Board, explaining the reasons for not releasing him on bail. During the "inquiry" and not a "trial", such delinquents are to be housed in the observation home and the "inquiry" has to be completed within four months.

Are there any provisions for rarest of rare cases?

Certain provisions under the Act leave some discretion with the Board's magistrate to pass orders in exceptional cases. Section 15(g), which was brought after an amendment, states that the Board can order putting a juvenile, between the ages of 17 and 18, in a special home for a period of not less than two years.

Section 16 talks about penalising orders that cannot be passed against juveniles and imposes an absolute prohibition on a life term or death sentence or even any duration of jail term. At the same time, the proviso to this Section says that if the "Board is satisfied that the offence committed is so serious in nature or that his conduct and behaviour have been such that it would not be in his interest or in the interest of other juvenile in a special home to send him to such special home and that none of the other measures provided under this Act is suitable or sufficient", it may seek the assistance of the state government for placing him in an appropriate institution. On receiving a report from the Board, the government may arrange for keeping a juvenile under protective custody at a place, but not for more than three years or till he turns 18.

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