A bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna set aside a Bahraich trial court order, which was upheld by the Allahabad high court, awarding the man life sentence as under the 1986 Juvenile Justice Act, a person was not considered minor if he was above 16 years of age.
However, by the time the trial completed and the HC decided the appeal in 2018, the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 had come into force.
Accused entitled to be treated as juvenile: SC
The Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 termed a person minor if he had not been 18 years of age at the time of commission of the crime.
When the convict, Satya Deo, filed appeal before the SC claiming benefit of juvenility under the 2000 Act, the court asked the Bahraich district judge to conduct an inquiry and file a report. On March 6, the district judge gave a report stating that Deo’s date of birth is April 15, 1965, making him 16 years 7 months and 26 days of age on the date of commission of offence on December 11, 1981.
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Khanna said, “As Satya Deo was less than 18 years of age on the date of commission of offence on December 11, 1981, he is entitled to be treated as a juvenile and be given benefit as per the 2000 Act. An accused cannot be denied his right to be treated as a juvenile when he was less than eighteen years of age at the time of commission of the offence, a right which he acquired and has fructified under the 2000 Act, even if the offence was committed prior to its enforcement.”