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Friday, July 26, 2013

The Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 & the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (for short ‘the 2000 Act’) = whether or not the appellant, who was admittedly not a juvenile within the meaning of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 (for short ‘the 1986 Act’) when offences were committed but had not completed 18 years of age, on that date, will be governed by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (for short ‘the 2000 Act’) and be declared as a juvenile in relation to the offences alleged to have been committed by him. = the age of the appellant as on the date of the commission of the offence i.e. 06.05.1995 was 17 years, 11 months and 5 days and hence less than 18 years, and hence when we apply provisions of the 2000 Act, the appellant has to be treated as a juvenile, being less than 18 years of age on the date of the crime and hence entitled to get the benefit of the provisions of the 2000 Act read with Rules. 8. We are therefore inclined to affirm the order of conviction, however, the sentence awarded by the trial court and confirmed by the High Court is set aside and the matter is sent to the concerned Juvenile Justice Court for imposing adequate sentence. Appeal is allowed as above.

              reported in        http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40582                                   
         Reportable
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                      CRIMINAL APPEALLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 556 OF 2004


Ketankumar Gopalbhai Tandel                        Appellant


                                   Versus

State of Gujarat                                   Respondent



                               J U D G M E N T


K.S. Radhakrishnan, J.

      The question that falls for consideration in this  appeal  is
whether
or not the appellant, who was admittedly not a juvenile within  the  meaning of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 (for short ‘the 1986 Act’)  when  offences
were committed but had not completed 18 years of age, on that date, will  be governed by the Juvenile Justice (Care  and  Protection  of  Children)  Act, 2000 (for short ‘the 2000 Act’) and be declared as a juvenile  in  relation to the offences alleged to have been committed by him.

2.    The appellant herein was convicted by the Additional  Sessions  Judge,
Valsad (trial  court)  in  Sessions  Case  No.  133  of  1995  for  offences
punishable under Sections 302 and 324 of the Indian Penal  Code,  1860  (for
short ‘IPC’) and was sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life and  to  pay
a fine of Rs1000/- and in default to  undergo  Simple  Imprisonment  for  15
days for an offence  punishable  under  Section  302,  IPC  and  to  undergo
Rigorous Imprisonment for 2 months and to pay a fine  of  Rs.1000/-  and  in
default to undergo Simple Imprisonment for 7 days for an offence  punishable
under  Section  324,  IPC.   Both  the  sentences  were   ordered   to   run
concurrently.  The accused preferred Criminal Appeal No. 366 of 1997  before
the High Court of Gujarat,  the  same  was  dismissed  vide  judgment  dated
24.07.2003 against which this appeal has been preferred.

3.    Shri S.C. Patel, learned counsel appearing for the appellant raised  a
preliminary contention that the appellant has to be treated  as  a  juvenile
on 06.05.1995 i.e. the date of occurrence, in view of the provision  of  the
2000 Act, since his date of birth being 01.06.1977.  On 06.05.1995,  it  was
pointed out that the appellant was 17 years, 11 months  and  5  days,  hence
less than 18 years and is, therefore, entitled to get  the  benefit  of  the
2000 Act.

4.    Ms. Hemantika Wahi,  learned  counsel  appearing  for  the  respondent
submitted that the appellant is governed by the 1986 Act and under the  1986
Act all persons who were above the age of  16  years  on  the  date  of  the
commission of the offence would not be treated as juveniles  and  since  the
appellant was aged more than 16 years on the date of occurrence hence  would
not get the benefit of  juvenility.   Learned  counsel  submitted  that  the
trial court as well as the High Court has rightly  convicted  and  sentenced
the appellant and thus calls for no interference by this Court.

5.    We have gone through the judgment of the trial court as well  as  that
of the High Court and also the oral and  documentary  evidences  adduced  in
this case and we find no reason to interfere with the  order  of  conviction
passed by the trial court, confirmed by the  High  Court.   Learned  counsel
for the appellant has also not canvassed the  correctness  or  otherwise  of
the order of conviction but confined his arguments,  as  already  indicated,
on the plea of juvenility.  The question posed in this  case  is  no  longer
res integra. On exhaustive survey of the previous  judgments  on  the  point
this Court in Dharambir v. State (NCT of Delhi) and  Another  (2010)  5  SCC
344 held as follows:

     “It is, thus, manifest from a conjoint reading of Sections 2(k),  2(l),
     7-A, 20 and 49 of the Act of 2000 read with Rules  12  and  98  of  the
     Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2007 that all
     persons who were below the  age  of  eighteen  years  on  the  date  of
     commission of the offence even prior to 1-4-2001 would  be  treated  as
     juveniles even if the claim of juvenility is  raised  after  they  have
     attained the age of eighteen  years  on  or  before  the  date  of  the
     commencement of the Act of 2000  and  were  undergoing  sentences  upon
     being convicted.  In the view we have taken, we are  fortified  by  the
     dictum of this Court in a recent decision  in  Hari  Ram  v.  State  of
     Rajasthan.”


6.    This Court,  when  the  matter  came  up  for  hearing,  directed  the
Sessions Judge, Valsad (Gujarat) to find out the age  of  the  appellant  on
the date of occurrence of the crime.  The Sessions  Judge  vide  his  report
dated 11.04.2011 stated that the appellant was not juvenile on the  date  of
occurrence i.e. 06.05.1995.  Such a view was taken by the Sessions Judge  on
the basis of the 1986 Act.  If we apply the provisions of the 1986 Act  then
the appellant was not a juvenile on the date of the crime but  if  we  apply
Sections 2(k), 2(l), 7-A, 20 and 49 of the 2000 Act read with Rules  12  and
98 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection  of  Children)  Rules,  2007
(for short ‘the Rules’) all persons who were below the age of  18  years  on
the date of commission of the offence  even  prior  to  1-4-2001,  would  be
treated as juveniles even if the claim of juvenility is  raised  after  they
have attained the age of 18 years on or before the date of the  commencement
of the 2000 Act and were undergoing sentences upon being convicted.

7.    So far as the present case is concerned,  as  already  indicated,  the
age of the appellant as on the date of the commission of  the  offence  i.e.
06.05.1995 was 17 years, 11 months and 5 days and hence less than 18  years,
and hence when we apply provisions of the 2000 Act, the appellant has to  be
treated as a juvenile, being less than 18 years of age on the  date  of  the
crime and hence entitled to get the benefit of the provisions  of  the  2000
Act read with Rules.

8.    We are therefore inclined to affirm the order of conviction,  however,
the sentence awarded by the trial court and confirmed by the High  Court  is
set aside and the matter is sent to the  concerned  Juvenile  Justice  Court
for imposing adequate sentence.  Appeal is allowed as above.




                                                             ….…….…….……………J.
                                                (K.S. Radhakrishnan)






                                                             ………..………………….J.
                                                      (Pinaki Chandra Ghose)

New Delhi,
July 18, 2013

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