Claim of juvenility can be raised at any stage: Supreme Court

In a recent case, the Supreme Court observed that delay in raising a claim of juvenility is not a ground for rejection of such claim.

The Bench observed that such a claim could be raised at any stage, even after the case is disposed of.

Background:

The above-mentioned observations were made when the court was considering an application filed by a convict (Isha Charan) who was convicted for murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

In her application the convict placed reliance on a school certificate according to which her date of birth is 08.10.1965 therefore when the incident occured( 30.11.1982) she was only 17 years old.

Observations of the Bench:

The Court noted that at the time of trial, the convict did not raise a plea of juvenility and she was convicted before the Juvenile Justice(Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 came into force and as per Section 2(k) of the Act a juvenile is a person who has not completed 18 years of age.

A person who is minor is entitled to protection, opined the Bench and a claim of juvenility, can be raised at any stage. This ruling was given by the Apex Court in Abuzar Hossain vs State of West Bengal.

Decision:

Therefore the Court directed the District and Sessions Judge UP to conduct an inquiry into the claims of juvenility and submit the report to Court within a month. The Court also directed that the convict should be released on bail.

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