Section 7(A) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and
Protection) Act, 2000.
The plea can be raised before any Court and at any point of time.
the age of the accused appellant was less than 18 years at the time of the incident.
It has been brought to our
notice that the appellant has undergone about 8 years in jail.
appellant falls within the definition of “juvenile” under Section 2(k)
of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of children) Act, 2000.
He can raise the plea of juvenility at any time and before any court
as per the mandate of Section 7(a) and has rightly done so.
been proved before us, as per the procedure given in the Rule 12 of
the Juvenile Justice Model Rules, 2007, and the age of the accused
appellant has been determined following the correct procedure and
there is no doubt regarding it.
On the question of sentencing, we believe that the accused appellant
is to be released.
In the present matter, in addition to the fact that
he was a juvenile at the time of commission of offence, the accused
appellant is entitled to benefit of doubt.
Therefore, the conviction
order passed by the High Court is not sustainable in law.
without conceding, that even if the conviction is upheld, Upendra
Pradhan has undergone almost 8 years of sentence, which is more than
the maximum period of three years prescribed under Section 15 of the
Juvenile Justice Act of 2000.
Thus, giving him the benefit under the
Act, we strike down the decision of the High Court. -2015 S.C. MSKLAWREPORTS