Mumbai: Relief for JJB member, HC says FIR against him needs prior sanction

Bombay HC, Juvenile Justice Board, mumbai news, maharashtra news, indian express news

The HC bench was informed by advocate Madhavi Tavanandi that the member, himself an advocate, was appointed to the JJB and was presiding over a hearing in the Dongri observation home on July 24, 2017. (File photo)

Maintaining that criminal proceedings against a member of the Juvenile Justice Board cannot be initiated without prior sanction, the Bombay High Court has pulled up a magistrate and the police for not following proper procedure while filing FIR against a JJB member, who was accused of outraging the modesty of a woman advocate.

The FIR was registered against the JJB member at the Dongri Police station. A single judge bench of Justice A M Badar passed an order last month after hearing a plea by the member that as his appointment was to a statutory body, prior sanction of the government was required before initiating action against him.

The member in his plea claimed neither the police nor the magistrate sought prior sanction, hence the FIR should be stayed. The HC upheld the member’s contention.

The bench was informed by advocate Madhavi Tavanandi that the member, himself an advocate, was appointed to the JJB and was presiding over a hearing in the Dongri observation home on July 24, 2017.

While the proceedings were in-camera, an advocate not related to the case barged inside the room. When asked to leave, she created a ruckus, claimed the member, who issued a contempt notice against her.

Tavanandi further submitted that within half an hour of the contempt notice being issued against the advocate, the female lawyer lodged an FIR against the member at the Dongri Police station. The FIR, Tavanandi submitted, was not valid as the member was performing duties on a statutory post and under Section 197 of the CrPC.

Tavanandi added that though the magistrate was informed about the lapse, he did not pay heed and hence the member had to approach the High Court to stay the FIR.

The HC noted that he was JJB member and the alleged offence took place when he was presiding over the judicial proceedings under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. The HC held, “As such, prima facie, it appears that cognizance of the alleged offence ought not to have been taken by the learned Metropolitan Magistrate without sanction as required by Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.”