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MURDER CONVICT ACQUITTED BY SUPREME COURT AFTER 20 YEARS ON THE GROUND OF JUVENILITY

Team SoOLEGAL 19 Apr 2019 10:33am

MURDER CONVICT ACQUITTED BY SUPREME COURT AFTER 20 YEARS ON THE GROUND OF JUVENILITY

In the case of Ashok Kumar Mehra (Ashok Kumar Mehra & Anr v. State of Punjab), both the appellant and his father were convicted for murder under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1960. Punjab and Haryana High Court sentenced them to undergo life imprisonment. Punjab and Haryana High Court reversed the order of acquittal by Sessions Judge on an appeal. Both the State and the Complainant preferred a Revision. While pendency of appeal of Revision, the father expired and hence his appeal stood abated.

The point of the Appellant being a minor at that time was brought before the Apex Court only and not before the Sessions Court or High Court. Supreme Court Division bench comprising of Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari noted that the appellant was a minor (below 18 years of age) at the time of commission of the offence. Hence, he is entitled to the benefit of Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 by virtue of conjoint reading of sections 2(k), 2(I) and 7A r/w section 20 of the Act.

The bench concluded that the exact age of the appellant, when the offence was committed, was 17 years and 5 months on finding that neither it is not in dispute that the appellant had filed birth certificate before the Sessions Court nor the prosecution raised objection to the correctness of such birth certificate. It was further noted that when the appellant was granted bail in the year 2011 by the Supreme Court, there were no objection from the side of the Respondent.

The appeal was allowed by the Court acquitting the appellant. The basis of acquittal was not  merits of the case, but the minority of the appellant and him undergoing considerable jail sentence partly as an under-trial and partly as a convict.



Tagged: Murder   Supreme Court   Section 302   Indian Penal Code   Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre   Justice Dinesh Maheshwari   Punjab and Haryana High Court   Minority   Juvenile  
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