The criminal past of a juvenile should be "obliterated" after a period of time and not be allowed to stand in the way of his future life, the Delhi high court has ruled.
A division bench of justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice VK Jain, citing previous judgments given by the court, observed: "The intention of the legislature is absolutely clear in that so far as juveniles are concerned, their criminal record is not to stand in their way in their future lives."
The court said it had arrived at the conclusion on the basis of provisions of Section 19 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
The court's observation came on a plea filed by the city police commissioner against the order of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) dismissing his order cancelling the candidature of Vijay Kumar Malik for the post of sub-inspector in Delhi Police because of his criminal past when he was a juvenile.
The city police moved the high court contending that Malik, while a juvenile, was involved in a case of murder and conspiracy and "such a candidate had no place in a disciplined force and law-enforcing agency like police".
The bench in its judgment opined that criminal records of a juvenile should be "obliterated" after a specified period of time.
"We had noted that even where a juvenile is found to have committed an offence, he shall not suffer any disqualification and even the records are to be obliterated after a specified period of time," the bench said.
Malik in the year 2011 had applied for the post of sub-inspector (executive) male in Delhi Police. However, his candidature was cancelled by the police department on the ground that he was involved in a criminal case pertaining to murder and criminal conspiracy and an FIR had been filed against him on Aug 20, 2005, at the Sonepat (Haryana) police station.
While applying for the police post Malik had disclosed his involvement in the case in both the application form and the attestation form. Malik had already been acquitted of all charges on Oct 17, 2006, by the Juvenile Justice Board.
The division bench, pronouncing the order last month, said: "Since the respondent (Malik) was a juvenile, it was all the more necessary for the petitioner (Commissioner of Police) to have ignored the fact of the alleged involvement of the respondent in the said criminal case."
"As such, the candidature of the respondent could not have been cancelled in law. The Tribunal, having held in favour of the respondent Vijay Kumar Malik, has proceeded in terms of law and in view of the various decisions of the Supreme Court as also of this Court. Consequently, the same cannot be faulted," the bench said while dismissing the plea of police.