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Once the plea of juvenility is rejected by the Trial Court, HC and the SC, it is not open for the ac

Pawan Kumar Gupta vs. State of NCT of Delhi, Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 547 of 2020, arising out of SLP(Crl.) D. No. 2122 of 2020 – January 20, 2020

The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Banumathi, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Bopanna pronounced the following judgment and dismissed the SLP.

The issue raised before the Court is whether the plea of juvenility is maintainable or not?

Facts of the case:

The petitioner Pawan Kumar Gupta was a juvenile at the time of commission of the offence.

The contention of the petitioner is that he was a juvenile during the commission of the offence. The date of birth of the petitioner in the School Leave Certificate proves the same. The certificate has also been found to be true by the investigating officer and it is prayed for holding the enquiry in terms of section 7A of the Juvenile Justice Act. The said petition made by the petitioner in the Additional Session Court was dismissed. The judge has stated from the previous orders of the Supreme Court on how the plea of juvenility had been rejected while dismissing a review petition.

It is also stated by the Session Judge that the Supreme Court has not considered the petitioner to be a juvenile and so the Session Court does not have the jurisdiction to decide the age of the accused. The High Court has taken in order the school leave certificate produced. The Court has also noted that the review petition filed in view of the plea of juvenility is against the death penalty awarded to him and that the same was dismissed by the Supreme Court.

The counsel for the petitioner lay upon various judgments and held that there is a procedure to be followed to determine the age of the accused claiming to be juvenile. As held in Ram Narain vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, claim of juvenility may be raised at any stage before the disposal of the case.

The Court stated that once a convict has chosen to take the plea of juvenility before the learned Magistrate, High Court and also before the Supreme Court and the said plea has been rejected up to the Supreme Court, the petitioner cannot be allowed to reagitate the plea of juvenility by filing fresh application under Section 7A of the JJ Act.

In the present case, the petitioner has raised a plea in trial court and the investigating officer was asked to file a report, the report filed by the officer proved that the petitioner did not dispute the age above 18 years. Later the Metropolitan Magistrate rejected the plea. The parents did not raise any objection to the age verification filed by the IO. The court confirmed that petitioner 2 is not a juvenile. The Learned Metropolitan Magistrate negatived the plea of juvenility. The order was also not challenged. When the case was pending in the High Court, the accused and the co-accused Vinay again filed a plea of juvenility. The plea of juvenility was then raised in a review petition before the Supreme Court, the Court rejected the plea taken in consideration of the previous court orders. As the plea got rejected in all of the courts, there is no other ground to interfere with the impugned order. Therefore, the Special Leave Petition is dismissed.

View / Download the Judgment: Pawan Kumar Gupta vs. State of NCT of Delhi

–  Vydurya Selvi Baskaran

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