FIR Registration

Please see our classification of crimes to understand if an FIR needs to be registered.

Petty Offences: No registration of an FIR is required.

Serious Offences: No registration of an FIR is required (They are supposed to record it in the general diary along with the social background report for these two types of offences).

Heinous Offence: An FIR needs to be filed against a child.

Arresting a child

There are certain rules the police have to follow while arresting a child offender. They are:

  • The police cannot handcuff or exert any force when they arrest a child
  • The police officer must immediately inform the parents or guardians
  • The police officer must tell the child the location of the Juvenile Justice Board where they will be taken.

Children’s Court

If the Board decides that a child should be tried as an adult after a Preliminary Assessment, it sends the case to a Children’s Court. The Children’s Court may be an existing Sessions Court that deals with child-specific laws, or a special court set up to deal with crimes under the Juvenile Justice Act. The Children’s Court may then do one of two things:

They may decide that the child must be treated as an adult for the trial, and then conduct a regular trial and pass final judgment. While the Children’s Court can generally pass the maximum sentence for a Heinous Offence (a sentence of more than 3 years), it cannot sentence the child to the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of release.

They may decide that there is no need to try the child as an adult and may conduct an inquiry like the Board did, and pass orders under Section 18 of the Juvenile Justice Act.

In all proceedings, the Children’s Court must make sure the atmosphere is child-friendly. It must also ensure that the child is sent to a Place of Safety if they are detained during proceedings. If the child is found guilty of having committed a Heinous Offence, they will be sent to the Place of Safety until they are 21 years old, after which they can be sent to jail. The child should have access to services like education and skill development while they are at the Place of Safety.

Preliminary Assessment of a child’s crime

A preliminary assessment is conducted when a heinous offence is committed by a child over the age of 16. This is an attempt to find out whether the child was mature enough to understand their action and the consequences of them when they committed the crime. If the child was mature enough, the proceedings need to be conducted in the same way an adult would be. The Board can take the help of trained psychologists and experts to arrive at its conclusions but must complete the inquiry within 3 months.