The Delhi High Court's bench of Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Anish Dayal has set aside the Order of life sentence given to a murder accused in 2004 after finding out that the accused was entitled to the benefit of juvenility.

In this case, the accused was convicted for offences punishable under Sections 452/302 of the Indian Penal Code and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The appellant-accused challenged the Order of conviction before the High Court.

During the pendency of the appeal, the appellant-accused took the plea of juvenility before the High Court.

Advocates Adit S.Pujari and Chaitanya Sundriyal appeared for the accused whereas APP Prithu Garg appeared for the State.

In the present case, since neither the date of birth from the school first attended nor matriculation certificate nor the birth certificate issued by the municipal corporation/ authorities is available, the only course opened to ascertain the age of the accused was by seeking medical opinion from the duly constituted medical board.

The Court noted that "The appellant also had submitted his Aadhar Card and PAN Card whereby his date of birth was mentioned as January 1, 1983. However, the said documents were not on the basis of any record from the school or municipal authority. Hence, in terms of Section 94 of the J.J.Act, the age of the appellant will have to be ascertained as per the ossification test conducted and opined by the Medical Board to be between 30 to 40 years as on 18th December 2019, which makes the age of the appellant on the date of incident i.e. 6th November 1999 to be between 10 years to 20 years."

Thus, considering that the upper age limit cannot be taken to the detriment of the appellant and as per the lower limit, the appellant was a minor at the time of alleged incident, the Court held that the accused is entitled to the benefit of juvenility.

"The appellant was convicted for offences punishable under Sections 302/452 IPC as noted above. Maintaining the conviction of the appellant for the said offences, which is not being challenged on merits before this Court, the order on sentence is set aside.", the Court held.

Neutral Citation No.2022/DHC/005133

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