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Conviction Of A Juvenile By JJ Board Is Not A Disqualification for Employment, Requirement Of It’s Disclosure Violates His Privacy, Art.21 :Allahabad High Court

first_imgTop StoriesConviction Of A Juvenile By JJ Board Is Not A Disqualification for Employment, Requirement Of It’s Disclosure Violates His Privacy, Art.21 :Allahabad High Court Nupur Thapliyal13 May 2021 10:58 PMShare This – xThe Allahabad High Court has recently held that using criminal prosecution faced by a candidate as a juvenile to form an opinion about his suitability for appointment is arbitrary, illegal and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Moreover, holding that an employer cannot ask any candidate to disclose details of criminal prosecution faced as a juvenile, the Court has also held that the requirement to disclose details of criminal prosecutions faced as a juvenile is violative of the right to privacy and the right to reputation of a child guaranteed under Article 21. A single judge bench comprising of Justice Ajay Bhanot went ahead to observed thus: “The conviction by a Juvenile Justice Board under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 of a juvenile is not a disqualification for employment. As a sequitor prosecution faced as a juvenile is not a relevant fact for forming an opinion about the criminal antecedents and suitability of the candidate for appointment. Such prosecution cannot be made a basis for denial of appointment. Non disclosure of irrelevant facts is not “deliberate” or willful concealment of material facts. Hence non-disclosure of such criminal cases cannot invalidate the appointment of the said person.” The observation came in a petition assailing the order dated 3rd September 2020 passed by Commandant of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), Etah wherein the petitioner was found as being not suitable for the post of Constable by the Competent Authority. It was therefore the case of the petitioner that the Authority was “misdirected in law” by overlooking the fact that the petitioner was tried for an offence as a juveline. It was therefore argued that the impugned order for arbitrary, illegal and violative of petitioner’s fundamental rights under Art. 14, 16 and 21. On the other hand, it was the case of the State that pending of a criminal case and suppression of the case in the Attestation form by the petitioner was admitted and that the candidature was not suitable for appointment in a disciplined force like PAC. Noting that the petitioner was 15 years 8 months 12 days old i.e. a juvenile on the date of offence under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, the Court framed the following issues: 1. Whether the petitioner can be denied appointment on the footing of the prosecution and the conviction of the petitioner by the Lok Adalat by order dated 05.11.2019, in Case Crime No. 104/2011, under Sections 3/4 of U.P. Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act, 1998. 2. Whether the respondents authorities erred in law by requiring the petitioner to disclose details of criminal prosecution faced by him as a juvenile in the Attestation Form? Observations of the Court Placing reliance on the judgment of Rajiv Kumar Vs. State of U.P. and another 2019(4) ADJ 316, the Court opined that entrenched the right to reputation of a child as a fundamental right flows from Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Moreover, reliance was also made on the famous judgment of KS Puttuswamy v. Union of India wherein right to privacy was declared to be a fundamental right also applying to children. Examining the aspects of Juvenile Justice Act 2015 and other relevant judgments on the subject at length, the Court held thus: “Juveniles and adults form separate classes. Criminal prosecution of an adult is a lawful basis for determination of suitability of a candidate for appointment to public office. However prosecution of juveniles is in a separate class. Using criminal prosecution faced by a candidate as a juvenile to form an opinion about his suitability for appointment, is arbitrary illegal and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.” Moreover, the Court went ahead to hold that: “The requirement to disclose details of criminal prosecutions faced as a juvenile is violative of the right to privacy and the right to reputation of a child guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It also denudes the child of the protection assured by the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 (as amended from time to time). Hence the employer cannot ask any candidate to disclose details of criminal prosecution faced as a juvenile.” The Court also held the candidate “can hold his silence or decline to give information about the criminal prosecution faced as a juvenile” and that denial of such information by the candidate will not amount to a false declaration or a willful suppression of facts. However, with the aforesaid observations, the Court clarified that these observations shall not apply to cases beyond the ambit of Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 and also in cases of heinous crimes committed by persons in the age group of 16 to 18 years. “Merely because the petitioner did not raise the plea of juvenility before the learned trial court, does not denude him of the protection conferred upon him by law. The offence in issue is not a heinous crime. Further the impugned order is vitiated by its failure to consider the unimpeached report of the police authorities that the petitioner enjoys a good social reputation.” The Court observed at the outset. Deciding upon the facts of the case, the Court held that prosecution and imposition of penalty on the petitioner by the Lok Adalat cannot be the basis of denial of appointment to him by the PAC. “The said proceedings are not relevant criteria for purposes of appointment of the petitioner. I find that the respondents authorities have acted in a manner contrary to law by requiring the petitioner to disclose criminal prosecution faced by him as a juvenile.” The Court held. Observing that the competent authority had misdirected itself in law by finding the petitioner unsuitable for appointment, the Court held that the impugned order so passed is arbitrary and illegal and therefore set aside the same. Title: Anuj Kumar v. State of UP Click Here To Read JudgmentTagsallahabad high court juvenile justice act criminal prosecution of juvenile appointment of juvenile article 14 violative of article 21 right to privacy Justice Ajay Bhanot Next Storylast_img

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