The Bombay High Court has recently issued notice to the scribe of the article and the Publisher and Editor of Mid-Day to show cause as to why suo-motu action should not be initiated against them, for disclosing the identity of a 9-year-old minor child, against whom a criminal case was registered.

The Bench of Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Prithviraj Chavan observed that “Having regard to the fact, that Mid-Day has published the name of the child as well as the photographs of the child, in contravention of Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2015, we deem it appropriate to issue notice to the scribe of the said article – Shirish Vaktania, the Publisher and Editor of Mid-Day, as to why suo-motu action should not be initiated against them.”

In this case, an FIR was registered against a 9-year-old for allegedly inflicting injuries on the complainant's mother. The 9-year-old lost his balance while cycling and dashed against the complainant’s mother.

Advocate Shravan Giri appeared for the petitioner, APP J.P. Yagnik appeared for the respondent State, and Advocate Viresh Purwant appeared for respondent no. 3.

Advocate for respondent 3, informed the Court that an article was published by Mid-day and further submitted that the publication of the names of the parties, as well as photos by them, was clearly, in contravention of Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

The Court on perusal of the photocopy of the said article issued notice to the author as well as the Publisher and Editor of the Mid-Day.

The High Court, in its order dated October 20, 2022 had already quashed the FIR against the 9-year-old and had further said that “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. Despite Section 83 of the Indian Penal Code, the police have proceeded to register the FIR as against the petitioner’s son, a minor aged 9 years, at the behest of the respondent No.3. The action reflects complete non-application of mind by the concerned officer whilst registering the offence.”

The High Court has also imposed a cost of Rs. 25,000/- on the State Government and a departmental inquiry was also initiated against the police officer, who had registered the FIR.

Accordingly, the matter was listed for further direction on February 1st, 2023.

Cause Title- Akanksha Amol Kelkar v. The State of Maharashtra & Anr.

Click here to read/download the Order