SC sets aside life imprisonment imposed on a murder convict holding him ‘juvenile as on the day of occurrence’ [Read Judgment]

SC sets aside life imprisonment imposed on a murder convict holding him ‘juvenile as on the day of occurrence’ [Read Judgment]

The Supreme Court in Dilshad vs. State of U.P has set aside the punishment of life imprisonment imposed on a person convicted for murder, by holding him to be juvenile in terms of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, as on the day of occurrence.

Apex Court Division Bench comprising of Justices V. Gopala Gowda and U.U. Lalit has also remitted the matter to the Jurisdictional Juvenile Justice Board for determining the appropriate quantum of fine that should be levied on the appellant and the compensation that should be awarded to the family of the deceased.

The appellant was aged 16 years 5 months old when the crime was committed and the Trial Court convicted the accused as the Juvenile Justice Act, 1987 did not treat persons aged more than 16 as Juvenile. The High Court confirmed the conviction.

During the pendency of Appeal in Supreme Court, Juvenile Justice Act was amended to include boys aged less than eighteen as juveniles. The Court referring to its decisions in Pratap Singh v. State of Jharkhand and another Dharambir v. State (NCTof Delhi) and another and Kalu v. State of Haryana said “It is thus well settled that in terms of Section 20 of the 2000 Act, in all cases where the accused was above 16 years but below 18 years of age on the date of occurrence, the proceedings pending in the Court would continue and be taken to the logical end subject to an exception that upon finding the juvenile to be guilty, the Court would not pass an order of sentence against him but the juvenile would be referred to the Board for appropriate orders under the 2000 Act.”

The Court further said “In Jitendra Singh and another v. State of U.P. (supra), having found the juvenile guilty of the offence with which he was charged, in accordance with the law laid down by this Court as stated above, the matter was remanded to the jurisdictional Juvenile Justice Board constituted under the 2000 Act for determining appropriate quantum of fine. The view taken therein is completely consistent with the law laid down by this Court and in our opinion the decision in Jitendra Singh and another v. State of U.P. (supra) does not call for any reconsideration. The subsequent repeal of the 2000 Act on and with effect from 15.01.2016 would not affect the inquiry in which such claim was found to be acceptable. Section 25 of the 2015 Act makes it very clear.”

Read the Judgment here.