Understanding Juvenile Justice System and Bail Provisions


beige baby deer on brown soil between green grasses at daytime
beige baby deer on brown soil between green grasses at daytime

The Lahore High Court, in Crl. Misc. No. 78015/CB/2023, reviewed the case of Manzoor Ahmad vs. Muhammad Umar Farooq and others, focusing on the application of the Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018 (JJSA) concerning pre-arrest bail for juveniles. The petition sought to cancel the pre-arrest bail granted to Respondent No.1, a juvenile, by the Additional Sessions Judge, Jaranwala.

Key Areas:

Incident and Initial Proceedings: The petitioner, Manzoor Ahmad, was allegedly attacked by Respondent No.1 and his associate. An FIR was lodged against the respondents for offences under Section 337-F(vi) and 34 PPC. Respondent No.1, being a juvenile, applied for pre-arrest bail, which was granted by the Additional Sessions Judge based on the JJSA provisions.

Legal Arguments: The petitioner argued that the Additional Sessions Judge misinterpreted Section 6(3) of the JJSA, which treats major offences as bailable only after arrest or detention, thus not applicable for pre-arrest bail. The petitioner sought cancellation of the pre-arrest bail under Section 497(5) Cr.P.C.

Court's Analysis and Rationale: The court examined the JJSA’s framework, emphasizing its focus on rehabilitation and the best interests of the child, in contrast to the punitive nature of the adult criminal justice system. Citing Khawar Kiyani v. The State (PLD 2022 SC 551), the court highlighted the JJSA's alignment with Pakistan's constitutional provisions and international commitments under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Interpretation of Section 6 of JJSA: Section 6(3) mandates treating major offences as bailable for juveniles. The court applied the principle of lenity, favoring the accused in cases of ambiguity, as stated in Province of Punjab v. Muhammad Rafique (PLD 2018 SC 178). The court argued against a rigid interpretation that would differentiate between post-arrest and pre-arrest bail, emphasizing a holistic, purposive approach consistent with the JJSA's remedial and beneficial nature.

Court's Decision: The court upheld the Additional Sessions Judge's decision to grant pre-arrest bail, noting that this interpretation aligns with the principles of juvenile justice and the JJSA’s objectives. The application to cancel the pre-arrest bail was dismissed.

Conclusion:The Lahore High Court reaffirmed the principles of the JJSA, emphasizing the importance of rehabilitation over punishment for juveniles and the need for a consistent approach to bail provisions.

Contact Us:

For expert legal assistance in navigating juvenile justice and bail provisions, contact AUJ LAWYERS LLP. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing comprehensive support and ensuring the best outcomes in juvenile cases.

We are here to help

Talk to our lawyers today. We tailor our services around your legal needs so that we can reach the desired outcome together.