On Monday, Supreme Court asked Centre to apprise it on Whether Observation Homes, where minors in conflict with law were kept, and Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) were equipped with Video-Conferencing Facility.
Apex Court Bench comprising of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta while referring to Provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act stated that,”Act mandates that the observation home should be there in every district. It is better to have a home which is properly maintained and have video conferencing facility.”
In the long run it will be cheaper for States and also comfortable for children, it said, adding that, “You do not need to take a child 200 kilometre just to attend JJB”.
SC Bench while issuing series directions asked all Trial Courts across India to consider possibility of pruning list of witnesses, in consultation with Public Prosecutor and Defence Counsel.
Supreme Court stated that in cases of the petty offences, principle of ‘bail not jail’ should be liberally applied by Trial Courts and in cases where accused was poor, the they should look into question of grant of bail in a sympathetic manner.
Bench further added that Trial Courts should also consider releasing the poor under-trials on personal or bail bonds of limited amount.
SC Bench asked Trial Courts to consider application of Section 309 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which deals with the power to postpone or adjourn proceedings, and ensure that when a witness appears before Court, he or she should be examined.
Supreme Court Bench was hearing a matter related to deficiencies in the Jails as highlighted by Two Apex Court Judges (one of them has retired) during their visit to Faridabad Jail and an observation home in June,2018.
Bench stated that video-conferencing facility in JJBs and observation homes has to be there as it would be cheaper for the states and also comfortable for the minors.
SC Bench referred to situation in a State where a juvenile has to travel for five to six hours to be produced before the JJB and such a problem could be solved by having video conferencing facility in observation homes and JJBs.
Supreme Court asked Centre to inform it about number of Forensic Science Laboratories (FSLs), including the Central forensic science laboratory (CFSL), and indicate if there was any proposal to increase the number of such laboratories.
Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for the Centre, said that there were problems of non-availability of human resources and technology in FSLs across the country.