Why only boys held in dating cases, asks HC

Speaking to this daily, Advocate Manisha Bhandari explained the nuances of the Juvenile Justice Act.
The Uttarakhand High Court building premises in Nainital.
The Uttarakhand High Court building premises in Nainital.File Photo | Express

DEHRADUN: The Nainital High Court has taken serious note of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), highlighting the discriminatory arrest of only boys in cases where minor couples are caught dating, while the girls are let off. During the hearing, it was revealed that 20 minors are currently languishing in Haldwani jail on similar charges.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Rakesh Thapliyal heard a PIL on Monday, alleging discrimination against minor boys in dating cases. Advocate Manisha Bhandari had filed the PIL, stating that minor boys are always presumed guilty in such cases, while girls are not held accountable.

In a significant move, the Uttarakhand High Court has agreed to hear a PIL that seeks to address the disparity in the treatment of minors in dating cases, where boys are often arrested while girls are let off scot-free.

The HC has sought responses from the Central and state governments on this matter, taking cognizance of the disparity in the treatment of minors in such cases.

“The court’s decision to hear the matter is a crucial step towards addressing this long-standing issue,” Advocate Manisha Bhandari, who filed the PIL, told this daily. “We hope that the court will take cognizance of the gender bias prevalent in such cases and provide relief to the victims,” added Manisha.

Speaking to this daily, Advocate Manisha Bhandari explained the nuances of the Juvenile Justice Act.

“According to the Act, if a child between 16 and 18 years old commits an offence, they should not be automatically treated as a minor. A board will decide whether the child understands the gravity of the offence or not,” she said.

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