The Telangana High Court recently held that where a juvenile who worked voluntarily to make ends meet, Sections 75 and 79 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (the Act) would not apply.

The Bench of Justice K. Surender observed that “When none of the ingredients of Section 75 of the Act are attracted, the proceedings against the petitioner have to be quashed.”

In this case, the plea was moved to quash the proceedings initiated on the file of Metropolitan Magistrate for offences under Section 75 and 79 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The volunteer in the District Child Protection Unit, Medchal District along with the team deployed for 'Operation Muskan’ conducted search for rescuing children employed as labourers and in Everbest Food Company, four girls of age 17 year, 16 years and 14 years were found working.

Advocate Baglekar Akash Kumar appearing for the petitioner and submitted that the girls were working as sales girl due to financial problems and were unable to go to school due to Covid pandemic.

Additional Public Prosecutor S. Sudershan appeared for the respondent.

The Court referred to the sections in detail- Section 75 of the Act provided for punishment, if any person having control over a child, assaults, abandons, abuses, exposes or willfully neglects the child. Section 79 of the Act prescribed punishment for the acts of ostensibly engaging a child and keeping him in bondage for the purpose of employment or withholding his earnings or using such earning for one’s own purposes.

The Court observed that the girls found on the premises were employed in the company and had testified that they were working due to financial problems. They did not speak about any assault by the accused or abandoning or that they were abused or neglected in any manner causing physical or mental suffering.

The Court, for the reasons stated, quashed the proceedings against the petitioner for the offences under Sections 75 and 79 of the Act.

Accordingly, the Criminal Petition was allowed.

Cause Title- Kothakonda Aishwarya v. The State of Telangana

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