Satish @ Dhanna Vs.
State of M.P. & Ors.  INSC 795 (17 April 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICITON CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 761 OF 2009
(Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No. 3541 of 2008) Satish @ Dhanna ...Appellant
Versus State of M.P. and Ors. ...Respondents
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Madhya Pradesh
High Court, Indore Bench. Stand of the present appellant was that he was
juvenile when the occurrence took place. His date of birth was 12.11.1980.
Various accused persons faced trial for offence punishable under Sections 147,
148, 302 read with Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the
`IPC'). Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that since the accused was
juvenile, his trial could not have been held along with others. Learned counsel
for the respondent-State on the other hand submitted that the question whether
the appellant was a juvenile was never raised earlier.
is to be noted that prior to the date of occurrence the Madhya Pradesh Children
Act, 1928 (in short the `Children Act') was in force. The Juvenile Justice Act,
1986 (in short `1986 Act') was in operation on the date of occurrence.
Subsequently, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000
(hereinafter referred to as `2000 Act') has been enacted. Under section 2(h) of
the 1986 Act, a juvenile is one who is below the age of 16 years. Under the
2000 Act under Section 2(k), a juvenile or child means a person who has not
completed 18 years of age. The fact that on the date in question, i.e. on the
date of occurrence and the date of production before the Court the appellant
had not completed 18 years of age stands fully established on record. Section
16 of the 2000 Act provides that no juvenile shall be sentenced to death or
imprisonment for life or committed to prison in default of payment of fine or
in default of furnishing security. Section 20 provides for special provisions
in respect of pending cases. The 2000 Act came into force on 1.4.2001. In Bhola
Bhagat v. State of Bihar (1997 (8) SCC 720) this Court after referring to the
decision in Gopinath Ghosh v. State of West Bengal (1984 Supp SCC 228) and
Bhoop Ram v. State of U.P. (1989 (3) SCC 1) held that an accused who was
juvenile cannot be denied the benefit of provisions of 2000 Act. The course
this Court adopted in Gopinath's and Bhola Bhagat's cases (supra) was to
sustain the conviction, but at the same time modify the sentence awarded to the
convict. At this distant point of time to refer the appellant to the Juvenile
Board would not be proper. Therefore, while sustaining the conviction for the
offence for which he has been found guilty, the sentence awarded is restricted
to the period already undergone. The appellant be released from custody
forthwith unless required to be in custody in connection with any other case. .
appeal is allowed.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)
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