The Uttarakhand High Court dismissed a 'Juvenility' plea of a triple murder convict whose death sentence affirmed by the Apex Court was later modified to life imprisonment by the President of India.
Om Prakash @ Nazrul @ Raju Dass @ Raju Chaudhary @ Saiful Islam was sentenced to death after he was found guilty of triple murder. The death penalty was affirmed by the Supreme Court, finally on 6th February 2006, by dismissing his curative petition. Later in May 2012, the President of India modified his death sentence to life imprisonment up to the attainment of the age of 60 years.
After all these, Om Prakash approached the Uttarakhand High Court, seeking a declaration that he was juvenile on the date when the offence which was committed by him on 15.11.1994. He also sought to quash decision of the President of India dated 08.05.2012 and to direct him to be released from the custody.
After elaborately considering the contentions raised by Counsel who appeared for Om Prakash, Justice Sharad Kumar Sharma observed that the protection by way of re-determination of juvenility, would amount to holding a retrial of the case under the pretext of enforcement of the new legislation and thus it cannot be made applicable after the finality of decision by the President of India. Interpreting 'at any stage of proceedings' in Section 9(2) of Juvenile Justice Act, the court observed that the stage of determination of juvenility, would only mean a stage, where the proceedings for determination of juvenility is on merits of the case are pending consideration for determination of the punishment on commission of offence before the Court defined under the Act, and that would mean that it should be a stage prior to a final determination made by the Supreme Court. While dismissing his petition, the court observed:
This Court is of the view that after the culmination of the proceedings by way of curative petition by an order of Hon'ble Apex Court on 06.02.2006, against an order of affirmation of conviction of a death penalty and with the dismissal of the curative petition by the Hon'ble Apex Court and after the expression of mercy/pardon by the President of India under Article 72 of Constitution has already been extended to the petitioner under Article 72 (1) (c) of the Constitution of India by his Order dated 08.05.2012, in such an eventuality, this Court is of the view that the stage for determination of juvenility and that too under an Act of 2015, which has been enforced much subsequent to the order of conviction will not be attracted
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