Juvenile Justice Act will override provisions of NDPS Act in matters of bail: Patna High Court

The Patna High Court last week ruled that the bail conditions in Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act will override provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act in cases concerning juveniles.
Juvenile Justice Act will override provisions of NDPS Act in matters of bail: Patna High Court
juvenile in conflict with law, Juvenile Justice ActNDPS Act

The Patna High Court last week ruled that the bail conditions in Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 will override provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1987 (NDPS Act) in cases concerning juveniles.

Justice Sudhir Singh made this pronouncement while disposing of an appeal moved by a minor, accused of offences under the NDPS Act.

The minor had earlier sought bail before the children’s court, which was rejected.

He was accused of abetting the transport of cannabis in his role as a khalasi of a truck.

The minor’s counsel argued that the minor neither had knowledge of the contraband substance in the truck nor had anything to do with the seized contraband.

Pertinently, the counsel urged the Court to consider the minor’s bail application in accordance with Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 as opposed to Section 37 of the NDPS.

The Court, placing reliance on Orissa High Court and Allahabad High Court decisions, ruled that the intention of the legislature was to give the Juvenile Justice Act an overriding effect over all laws.

"The non-obstante clause contained in Section 12 not only confers a special status over the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, but also over any other law for the time being in force. Further, no exception being carved out for the offences related to NDPS Act, sufficiently indicates that the intention of the legislature was to given an overriding effect to Section 12 of Juvenile Justice Act over Section 37 of the NDPS Act also," the judgment said.

The Court recorded that the order under challenge had not been considered in terms of Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.

However, the Court refused the appellant’s application for bail, stating that he was in the employ of persons who were involved in the illegal transportation of cannabis.

Releasing him would bring him into close association with these persons, which would defeat the ends of justice, the Court noted.

Therefore, the Court deemed it appropriate to dismiss the bail appeal.

However, it directed the Children’s Court to expedite the trial and conclude it within six months.

[Read order]

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