Bombay High Court recently expressed its displeasure and shock after police registered an FIR against a 9-year-old child for accidentally hitting a woman after losing his balance on the bicycle. First Information Report was registered despite the exception mentioned in Section 83 of the Indian Penal Code.
The bench comprising Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice S. M. Modak noted, “The action reflects complete non-application of mind by the concerned officer whilst registering the offence.”
As per Section 83 of the Indian Penal Code, “Nothing is an offence which is done by a child above seven years of age and under twelve, who has not attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge of the nature and consequences of his conduct on that occasion.”
The mother of the child filed a petition seeking directions to quash the FIR filed against her son under IPC Section 338 (Causing grievous hurt by an act endangering the life or personal safety of others) and pending proceedings before the Metropolitan Magistrate.
Advocate Shravan Giri appearing for the petitioner stated that no FIR could be filed against a 9-year-old child under Section 83 of the Indian Penal Code. It was submitted that the boy has been traumatised from the media coverage of the entire case which was clearly an accident.
APP J. P. Yagnik, appearing for the State did not object to the quashing of the FIR and submitted that action has been initiated against the Assistant Commissioner of Police who lodged the FIR.
As per the complainant, the petitioner’s son lost his balance while riding a bicycle and hit her mother which led to injuries.
Noting that this was a clear case of accident, the court stated that even before the investigation ‘C’ summary report was filed in the case but there was a lot of damage to the boy due to the publicity given to the case.
In an affidavit, the police Sub-Inspector stated that the FIR was lodged due to a misconception of law. He didn’t intend to register an FIR against a minor child and had prepared the report under Section 2(45) of the Juvenile Justice Act (petty offences) but did not take any coercive action against the child.
The High Court bench was informed that ‘C’ summary report was submitted to the Juvenile Court but no order has been passed despite directions from the High Court.
“Misconception or ignorance of law is not an excuse, much less, for a police officer and in the peculiar facts, more so, having regard to the fact that the child was only 9 years of age. This action of the police i.e., of registration of FIR, has resulted in traumatizing a 9-year-old boy,” the court said.
HC quashed the FIR against the minor child and also expressed displeasure at Metropolitan Magistrate for taking up the matter despite High Court orders.
The Court has ordered Rs 25,000 compensation to the petitioner to be paid by the State. The Court has directed the State government to recover the cost from officers who are responsible for this lapse.