The Supreme Court Monday dismissed a petition filed by December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder case convict Pawan Kumar Gupta, who claimed he was a juvenile at the time of the incident.
A bench of Justice R Banumathi, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A S Bopanna said Gupta cannot be allowed to raise the claim of juvenility as the same defence had already been rejected by the trial court, High Court and Supreme Court.
“Section 7A of the JJ (Juvenile Justice) Act stipulates that an application can be filed before any court at any stage, including the stage after the final disposal of the petition. However, once a convict has chosen to take the plea of juvenility before the learned Magistrate, High Court and also before the Supreme Court and the said plea has been rejected upto the Supreme Court, the petitioner cannot be allowed to reagitate the plea of juvenility by filing a fresh application… in our view, the learned single judge of the Delhi High Court rightly dismissed the revision petition.”
Gupta had approached the SC against the Delhi High Court order dismissing his plea of juvenility.
Appearing for him, Advocate A P Singh contended that the age of his client, as appearing in the School Leaving Certificate issued by his school Gayatri Bal Sanskar Shala, Narayan Pur, in Uttar Pradesh’s Ambedkar Nagar district, was October 8, 1996, and accordingly, he was aged only 16 years and two months at the time of commission of the offence.
This was opposed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who said that the convict had already taken this defence and the same had been rejected.
The Metropolitan Magistrate had on January 7, 2013, directed the Investigating Officer to file a report regarding the documents he has relied upon to determine the age of the accused.
Upon consideration of the report, the Magistrate, on January 10, 2013, “held that the age verification report of the petitioner Pawan Kumar Gupta was received and that the accused did not dispute the age verification report filed by the Investigating Officer and further, he did not dispute the age to be above 18 years of age at the time of commission of the offence.”
Monday’s order also said that “when the criminal appeal was pending before the High Court… the petitioner and co-accused Vinay have raised the plea of juvenility”, but this was rejected.
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