SC Acquitted the Rape Accused after knowing that He Was Juvenile At The Time Of Incident

Team SoOLEGAL 25 Feb 2019 3:59pm

SC Acquitted the Rape Accused after knowing that He Was Juvenile At The Time Of Incident

On Friday, a rape accused was acquitted, after The Supreme Court of India found out that he was a juvenile at the time of the incident.

The three Judge bench including Justice NV Ramana, Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Indira Banerjee ordered the release of the accused, by taking into the consideration the fact that accused has already spent 6 years in jail. The maximum period for which a juvenile may be sent to a special home is only 3 years as per Section 15(1)(g) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.

The High Court rejected his contention during the conviction of Raju and two others, for gang-rape of a fifteen-year-old girl, that he was aged less than 18 years at the time of the commission of the offense.

In his appeal, to claim that he was a juvenile he produced certain Certificates issued to him by schools before the Supreme Court. As per direction issued by the Court, an inquiry was conducted by Registrar (Judicial), it was found that his age was 16 years, 2 months and 2 days at the time of the commission of the offense and that he was thus a juvenile at that time. It was further held by the bench that:

"We do not have any doubt that the inquiry conducted by the Registrar (Judicial) upon the direction of this Court in the instant matter amounts to an inquiry conducted by this Court itself, and is conclusive proof of the age of the Appellant as provided in Rule 12(3) of the 2007 Rules. As the Appellant satisfies the requirement of Sections 2(k) and 2(l) of the 2000 Act, the said Act is applicable to him in full force in light of Section 7A and Section 20."

The bench also gave its opinion on the contention raised by the State that the plea of juvenility as decided by the Registry should not be given precedence over the view of the High Court. Considering this the bench said that the High Court did not even frame its discussion in terms of whether the evidence brought on record was sufficient to conduct an inquiry under the 2000 Act and the 2007 Rules, let alone order and conduct such an inquiry. On the contrary, it simply recorded that the evidence did not go to show that the Appellant was a juvenile at the time of the commission of the offense, and proceeded to affirm the conviction of the Appellant on merits, the bench added. The court further observed:

"This Court, on previous occasions as well, has adopted the practice of directing the Registrar (Judicial) to conduct the inquiry in terms of Rule 12 of the 2007 Rules on behalf of this Court, and accepted the findings made therein (see Dharambir v. State (NCT) of Delhi, (supra). Seeing that the Registrar (Judicial) is a District Judge serving on deputation at the Supreme Court, recourse to his or her assistance in the form of collecting evidence and arriving at a finding regarding the claim of juvenility of the person concerned may be undertaken by this Court in order to save its judicial time. However, it must be stressed that the findings in an inquiry conducted by the Registrar (Judicial) would not per se prevail upon a contrary view taken by the High Court. Only after this Court applies its judicial mind to such report with due regard to the confines of the procedure stipulated in Section 7A of the 2000 Act and Rule 12 of the 2007 Rules, and only if it thereafter confirms the findings in such report would the same prevail upon a contrary view taken by the High Court which is not based upon any such inquiry."

Tagged: sc   rapeaccused   juvenile   acquitted  
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