Thirumoorthy vs State 2024 INSC 247 – Juvenile Justice Act – Preliminary Assessment By JJB

Juvenile Justice(Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 ; Section 1 5 – Quashing the conviction of an accused in POCSO Case, the SC observed: In absence of a preliminary assessment being conducted by the Board under Section 15, and without an order being passed by the Board under Section 15(1) read with Section 18(3), it was impermissible for the trial Court to have accepted the charge sheet and to have proceeded with the trial of the accused – Thus, on the face of the record, the proceedings undertaken by the Sessions Court in conducting trial of the CICL, convicting and sentencing him as above are in gross violation of the mandate of the Act and thus, the entire proceedings stand vitiated – The accused appellant being a CICL was never subjected to preliminary assessment by the Board so as to find out whether he should be tried as an adult. Directing such an exercise at this stage would be sheer futility because now the appellant is nearly 23 years of age. At this stage, there remains no realistic possibility of finding out the mental and physical capacity of the accused appellant to commit the offence or to assess his ability to understand the consequences of the offence and circumstances in which he committed the offence in the year 2016 – Therefore the appellant who is presently lodged in jail shall be released forthwith, if not required in any other case.

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