Pawan Kumar Gupta vs State of NCT of Delhi (Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 547 Of 2020)
Pawan Kumar Gupta vs State of NCT of Delhi
Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 547 Of 2020
Supreme Court of India (Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction)
Full Bench – Hon’ble Ms. Justice R. Banumathi (author), Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ashok Bhushan and Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.S. Bopanna
ALSO KNOWN AS
POINT OF CONSIDERATION
Whether the plea of juvenility can be taken again under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (“JJ Act” in brief) after it had been earlier rejected by a competent court?
Contention of the petitioner was that he was a juvenile at the time of commission of the offence and that the same was apparent from the School Leaving Certificate issued in his favour. According to the petitioner, as per the said certificate, his date of birth was 08.10.1996 and therefore, on the date of alleged incident i.e., 16.12.2012, the petitioner was aged only 16 years 02 months and 08 days and that he was a juvenile on the date of the alleged commission of the offence.
The above contention of the petitioner was first rejected by the Magistrate considering other evidence and subsequently the rejection was confirmed Additional Sessions Judge. The Additional Sessions Judge also referred to the order of the Supreme Court dated 09.07.2018 in and by which the Supreme Court had inter alia rejected the plea of juvenility taken by the petitioner while dismissing a related petition filed by the petitioner. Further, Delhi High Court upheld the view taken by the Additional Sessions.
Accused in the present case had filed the SLP challenging the order passed by the High Court of Delhi in Criminal Revision Petition dismissing the claim of the petitioner of juvenility.
ISSUES RAISED & RATIO
Whether the plea of juvenility once rejected by any court can be taken again at any subsequent proceedings?
The court held that the Section 7A of the JJ Act stipulated that an application can be filed before any court at any stage including the stage after the final disposal of the petition. However, once a convict had chosen to take the plea of juvenility before the learned Magistrate, High Court or the Supreme Court and the said plea had been rejected, the petitioner could not be allowed to reagitate the plea of juvenility by filing fresh application under Section 7A of the JJ Act.
In the present factual matter, the S.L.P. was not the first time that the petitioner had raised the plea of juvenility. When the matter was pending before the trial court, plea of juvenility was raised by the petitioner and was rejected at the first instance.
The hon’ble Supreme Court hence concluded that they did not find any ground warranting interference with the impugned order of the Delhi High Court.
IMPORTANT CASES REFERRED
Ram Narain v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2015) 17 SCC 699
Upendra Pradhan v. State of Orissa (2015) 11 SCC 124
Ashwani Kumar Saxena v. State of Madhya Pradesh (2012) 9 SCC 750
The author is a LL.B Graduate of University School of Law and Legal Studies, GGSIPU, New Delhi