‘Plea of juvenility can’t be used to escape punishment’

Ranjeet,alias Bihari,was arrested in 2011 on the charge of robbing a policeman at gunpoint.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Published: April 25, 2013 2:14 am

Stating that the “law would not come to the rescue” of a person accused of heinous offences if “two views are possible with regard to the age of the accused”,a city court has dismissed a plea of juvenility filed by a man accused of several offences of robbery and possession of arms.

Ranjeet,alias Bihari,was arrested in 2011 on the charge of robbing a policeman at gunpoint. He had filed an application before the court stating that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence and,hence,should not be tried by the adult court.

He submitted a copy of his school admission register from his native village of Sitapur in UP as evidence. However,the court of Additional Session Judge Kamini Lau noted that the entry in the school register had not been verified,while the “ parivar/kutumb register” maintained by the gram panchayat as well as Ranjeet’s Voter’s ID showed that he was born in 1988 and was,therefore,23 years old at the time of the incident.

“In heinous crimes,it is the duty of courts to scrutinise plea of juvenility with extreme caution in order to ensure that a plea of minority is not employed to escape punishment,” ASJ Lau said.

She noted that the testimony give by family members of the accused contradicted each other. “They are trying to conceal the actual age of the accused despite the fact that the parivar register,which was admittedly filled up as per the information given by them to the gram panchayat from time to time,shows a different sequence,” the court said.

The court also observed that Ranjeet had been accused in several other cases and had filed similar pleas of juvenility before other courts as well.

“Entry made in the school record cannot be taken as authentic when,on the other hand,the entries made in the parivar/kutumb register and the Voter’s ID card are more authentic and credible and also find due corroboration from the ossification report of the accused,” the court said.

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