The Calcutta High Court, while hearing an application for anticipatory bail by 4 minors who were accused of wrongful restraint, causing grievous hurt, attempt to murder, and murder, referred the issue regarding the maintainability of an application by a juvenile for anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code to a larger bench.
The matter was heard by a division bench of Justices Arijit Banerjee & Bivas Patnaik. While examining the question of the maintainability of the application for anticipatory bail for a juvenile, they answered negatively, citing the safeguards provided to a child in conflict with the law should they be apprehended by the police under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. Since the bench considered the divergence of opinion between them & an earlier which heard the same issue, the matter referred to the Chief Justice for the constitution of a larger bench for settling the issue.
However, the court observed; after examining precedents by coordinating benches of the Calcutta High Court as well as other High Courts; that there was a difference of opinion on the issue. In the case of Saud, who is a minor & represented by his father, the Calcutta High Court had granted anticipatory bail to a minor petitioner. However, the Court didn’t consider the issue regarding the maintainability of an application for anticipatory bail at the instance of a minor.
With this observation and a reference to a larger Bench, the plea was disposed of.