Mali & ANR. Vs. State of M.P.  INSC 326 (28 April 2010)
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRL.M.P. NO.6426 OF 2010
IN CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1305 OF 2009 Mohan Mali & Anr. .. Appellants State of
M.P. .. Respondent O R D E R ALTAMAS KABIR, J.
Appeal, which arises out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.6276 of 2007, is
directed against the judgment and order of the Indore Bench of the Madhya
Pradesh High Court in Criminal Appeal No.898 of 1997, challenging the judgment
and order 2 of conviction passed by the Addl. Sessions Judge, Dhar, in Sessions
Trial No.366 of 1994. By virtue of the said judgment, the Appellants, along
with two other co-accused, were convicted under Sections 302/34, 326/34 and 324/34
of Indian Penal Code and sentenced to life imprisonment along with fine of
Rs.5,000/- for the offence under Section 302/34 IPC, three years' rigorous
imprisonment along with fine of Rs.500/- for the offence under Section 326/34
IPC and one year's rigorous imprisonment along with fine of Rs.500/- for the
offence under Section 324/34 IPC along with further sentence in default of
payment of fine. It may be mentioned that the Special Leave Petition filed by
one of the other co-accused, Bhagwan, being S.L.P.(Crl.) No.540 of 2008, was
rejected on 16th April, 2008, when notice was issued on S.L.P.(Crl.) No.6276 of
17th July, 2009, when the Special Leave Petition came up for admission, leave
was granted and the hearing of the appeal was expedited.
the Appellants' prayer for bail was rejected at that stage. When the matter was
being heard for grant of leave, a plea of juvenility was made on behalf of
Appellant No.2, Dhanna Lal, and this Court observed that in the event Dhanna
Lal was able to provide proof of his claim that he was a juvenile on the date
of the incident, he would be at liberty to apply afresh for grant of bail with
such supporting evidence. Pursuant thereto, a fresh bail application was filed
on behalf of Dhanna Lal on 27th January, 2010, annexing a copy of the Birth
Certificate of Dhanna Lal issued by the Chief Registrar (Birth and Death),
Municipal Corporation, Dhar, under Section 12 of the Birth and Death
Registration Act, 1969, maintained by the Corporation. From the said
certificate it appears 4 that Dhanna Lal's date of birth was recorded as 12th
November, 1976 and was registered on 17th November, 1976, making it a document
which was contemporaneous with his birth. Upon due verification, it was
confirmed on behalf of the State of Madhya Pradesh that the Appellant No.2,
Dhanna Lal, was a juvenile on the date of commission of the offence. Appearing
for the State, Mr. Pramod Swarup, Senior Advocate, very fairly submitted that
Dhanna Lal was, therefore, entitled to the benefit of Section 7A read with
Section 64 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000,
hereinafter referred to as `the 2000 Act'.
S.K. Dubey, learned senior counsel appearing for the Appellants, submitted that
the Appellant No.2, Dhanna Lal, although a minor, within the meaning of the
2000 Act, had not only been tried along with other co-accused, who were 5 not
juveniles, in violation of Section 18 of the 2000 Act, but had also undergone 9
years of imprisonment, despite a maximum sentence of three years which could
have been imposed on him under Section 15 of the 2000 Act.
other questions, this question also fell for determination of this Court in the
case of Hari Ram vs. State of Rajasthan & Anr. [(2009) 13 SCC 211]. This
Court while considering the various provisions of the 2000 Act, as amended in
2006, and, in particular, Section 7A which was introduced in the parent Act by
the amending Act of 2006, held that Section 7A would have to be read in tandem
with Section 20 of the 2000 Act and Rule 98 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and
Protection of Children) Rules, 2007, hereinafter referred to as `the 2007
Rules', which deal with disposed of cases of juveniles in conflict with law.
Since all the three provisions are of relevance to this Appeal, 6 the same are
being separately dealt with hereinbelow.
Section 7A of the 2000 Act, which provides the procedure to be followed when
claim of juvenility is raised before any Court, reads as follows :- "7A.
Procedure to be followed when claim of juvenility is raised before any court.-
(1) Whenever a claim of juvenility is raised before any court or a court is of
the opinion that an accused person was a juvenile on the date of commission of
the offence, the court shall make an inquiry, take such evidence as may be
necessary (but not an affidavit) so as to determine the age of such person, and
shall record a finding whether the person is a juvenile or a child or not,
stating his age as nearly as may be:
that a claim of juvenility may be raised before any court and it shall be
recognised at any stage, even after final disposal of the case, and such claim
shall be determined in terms of the provisions contained in this Act and the
rules made there under, even if the juvenile has ceased to be so on or before
the date of commencement of this Act.
the court finds a person to be a juvenile on the date of commission of the 7
offence under Sub-section (1), it shall forward the juvenile to the Board for
passing appropriate order, and the sentence if any, passed by a court shall be
deemed to have no effect."
of relevance is the fact that Section 7A of the 2000 Act allows a claim of
juvenility to be raised before any Court at any stage even after final disposal
of the case and speaks of the procedure which the Court is required to adopt
when such claim of juvenility is raised.
Section 20 of the 2000 Act specially provides for the procedure to be followed
in pending cases and reads as follows :- "20. Special provision in respect
of pending cases.- Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, all
proceedings in respect of a juvenile pending in any court in any area on the
date on which this Act comes into force in that area, shall be continued in
that court as if this Act had not been passed and if the court finds that the
juvenile has committed an offence, it shall record such finding and instead of
passing any sentence in respect 8 of the juvenile, forward the juvenile to the
Board which shall pass orders in respect of that juvenile in accordance with
the provisions of this Act as if it had been satisfied on inquiry under this
Act that a juvenile has committed the offence.
that the Board may, for any adequate and special reason to be mentioned in the
order, review the case and pass appropriate order in the interest of such
In all pending cases including trial, revision, appeal or any other criminal
proceedings in respect of a juvenile in conflict with law, in any court, the
determination of juvenility of such a juvenile shall be in terms of Clause (1)
of Section 2, even if the juvenile ceases to be so on or before the date of
commencement of this Act and the provisions of this Act shall apply as if the
said provisions had been in force, for all purposes and at all material times
when the alleged offence was committed.]"
to be noticed in the aforesaid Section is that it makes provision for
continuance of trials which had been commenced prior to the coming into
operation of the 2000 Act. While providing that the trial could continue before
the Court, if 9 it was found that the juvenile had committed an offence, the
Court would be required to record such finding and instead of passing any
sentence in respect of the juvenile, forward the juvenile to the Juvenile
Justice Board, which could then pass orders in respect of that juvenile in
accordance with the provisions of the 2000 Act.
Section 64 of the 2000 Act deals with a situation where a juvenile in conflict
with law is already undergoing sentence at the commencement of the Act, and the
same reads as follows :- "64. Juvenile in conflict with law undergoing
sentence at commencement of this Act.-In any area in which this Act is brought
into force, the State Government shall direct that a juvenile in conflict with
law who is undergoing any sentence of imprisonment at the commencement of this
Act, shall, in lieu of undergoing such sentence, be sent to a special home or
be kept in fit institution in such manner as the State Government thinks fit
for the remainder of the period of the sentence;
provisions of this Act shall apply to the juvenile as if he had been ordered 1
by the Board to be sent to such special home or institution or, as the case may
be, ordered to be kept under protective care under sub-section (2) of section
16 of this Act."
provision has to be read along with Sections 7A and 20 of the 2000 Act,
together with Rule 98 of the 2007 Rules, which deals with disposed of cases of
juveniles in conflict with law, and provides as follows:
Disposed of cases of juveniles in conflict with law. - The State Government or
as the case may be the Board may, either suo motu or on an application made for
the purpose, review the case of a person or a juvenile in conflict with law,
determine his juvenility in terms of the provisions contained in the Act and
Rule 12 of these rules and pass an appropriate order in the interest of the
juvenile in conflict with law under Section 64 of the Act, for the immediate
release of the juvenile in conflict with law whose period of detention or
imprisonment has exceeded the maximum period provided in Section 15 of the said
8. In the
facts of this case, we are faced with a situation where the juvenile, Dhanna
Lal, had already been tried along with adults and had been convicted under
Sections 302/34, 326/34 and 324/34 IPC and was sentenced to life imprisonment,
out of which he has already undergone about 9 years of the sentence. Rule 98 of
the 2007 Rules, in our view, squarely applies to Appellant No.2 Dhanna Lal's
case. His case is to be considered not only for grant of bail, but also for
release in terms of the said Rule, since he has completed more than the maximum
period of sentence as provided under Section 15 of the 2000 Act.
legal position has been clearly explained in Hari Ram's case (supra) and does
not, therefore, require any further elucidation in this case.
Having regard to the fact that the Appellant No.2, Dhanna Lal, was a minor on
the date of 1 commission of the offence, and has already undergone more than
the maximum sentence provided under Section 15 of the 2000 Act, by applying the
provisions of Rule 98 of the 2007 Rules read with Sections 15 and 64 of the
2000 Act, we allow the appeal as far as he is concerned and direct that he be
released forthwith. The bail application filed on his behalf is also disposed
the appeal, as far as the other accused, Mohan Mali, is concerned, be listed
for hearing separately.
________________J. (ALTAMAS KABIR)
________________J. (CYRIAC JOSEPH)
28th April, 2010.
No.1-B Court No.3 SECTION II-A (for judgment) S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D
I A RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS Crl. Misc. Peition No. 6426 of 20010 in CR. APPEAL NO.
1305 OF 2009 MOHAN MALI & ANR. Appellant (s) VERSUS STATE OF M.P.
Respondent (s) Date : 28/04/2010 This Petition was called on for judgment
Appellant (s) Mr. Rajesh,Adv. For Respondent(s) Mr. C.D. Singh, Adv. Hon'ble
Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir pronounced the order of the Bench comprising His
Lordship, and Hon'ble Mr.
appeal as far as Dhanna Lal is concerned is allowed and he be released
forthwith. The bail application filed on 1 his behalf is also disposed of accordingly.
appeal, as far as the other accused, Mohan Mali, is concerned, be listed for