Supreme Court: While dealing with the question of the sentencing of a juvenile in light of the enactment of the Juvenile Justice Act 2000 during the pendency of the case, the Bench comprising of V. Gopala Gowda and Uday Umesh Lalit JJ., set aside the sentence of life-imprisonment of the Appellant and remitted the matter to the Jurisdictional Juvenile Board. The Court also recommended that fine should be levied and compensation should be paid by the Appellant to the victim’s family.
In the present case, the Appellants were convicted on the basis of the dying declaration of a man they had allegedly set on fire. The Court dismissed the first criminal appeal no. 2084/2009, as provocation or unreliability of dying declaration were insufficiently proved. The next Appeal turned upon the fact that Appellant Dilshad was of age 16 years, 5 months and 5 days on the date of the occurrence i.e. 27.12.1990, when the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 was operative, whereby a 16-year old was not juvenile. During the pendency of the appeal to the High Court, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 came into force, effectively replacing the earlier Act. As reiterated in Pratap Singh v. State of Jharkhand (2005) 3 SCC 551, and Bijender Singh v. State of Haryana (2005) 3 SCC 685, Section 20 of the new Act considers pending cases, and provides via a non obstante clause an exemption for proceedings pending before the Courts. In such cases, a finding shall be recorded, but in lieu of sentencing, the Court was to hand over the juvenile to the custody of the Juvenile Justice Board which was to pass relevant orders. The Court also relied on Dharambir v. State (NCT of Delhi) (2010) 5 SCC 344 in terms of determining juvenility of juvenile in which it was said that the determination even during revision or appeal proceedings, has to be in accordance with clause (l) of Section 2 even if the juvenile ceases to be a juvenile on or before 1-4-2001.
The Court while holding appellant Dilshad to be juvenile in terms of the 2000 Act as on the day of occurrence and guilty of the offence with which he was tried, set aside the sentence of life imprisonment passed against him and remit the matter to the Jurisdictional Juvenile Justice Board for determining the appropriate quantum of fine that should be levied on the appellant Dilshad and the compensation that should be awarded to the family of the deceased keeping in mind the directions issued in Jitendra Singh v. State of U.P., (2013) 11 SCC 193. Further, the bail bonds furnished by Appellant Mumtaz were cancelled and taken in custody forthwith to undergo the sentence awarded to him. [Mumtaz v. State of Uttar Pradesh 2016 SCC OnLine SC 653, decided on 01-07-2016]