Age memo of juvenile to be prepared along with arrest memo

The Delhi High Court has passed a series of directions on how to treat juvenile delinquents when they are arrested for criminal offences.

A Division Bench of Justice A. K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw directed the Delhi Police to prepare an age memo of a juvenile when they arrest him or her along with the arrest memo and produce them before a Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) with the two documents so that the MM concerned could decide then and there his or her place of remand.

The Bench also said that the investigating agency shall also cite the grounds on which they had decided the age of a particular juvenile accused.

At present, the practice is that the police produce a juvenile accused with the arrest memo with arbitrary fixation of his or her age and seek remand on that basis. Generally, the police cite the age of a juvenile accused on the higher side which lands him or her in Tihar Jail meant for adult accused.

Thereafter, the juvenile accused challenges his or her arbitrary age fixation by the police before the Juvenile Justice Board for declaration of a juvenile. Till the Justice Board decides their cases, juveniles remain in jail along with adult accused.

This came to the notice of the High Court when a public spirited person wrote a letter to it citing information obtained through RTI that over a year as many as 114 juveniles accused were transferred to observation homes when they were declared juvenile by the Justice Board.

The Chief Justice converted the letter into a public interest litigation and sought responses from the Delhi Government and the city police.

The Bench issued the directions while hearing this petition.

The Bench also directed the Metropolitan Magistrate to ascertain the age of a juvenile before deciding his or her place of remand.

The Bench also observed that the Judicial Academy should refresh the Metropolitan Magistrates on how to treat juvenile accused.

The Bench directed the Tihar Jail authorities to put juveniles in separate barracks till their age was decided.

  • Investigating agency must cite the grounds for deciding the age of a juvenile accused

  • Judicial Academy should refresh Metropolitan Magistrates on how to treat juvenile accused