Supreme Court finds life convict a juvenile at time of murder, releases him

New Delhi: A man, awarded life term for killing his cousin in 1980, got reprieve from the Supreme Court which ordered his release from jail after finding that he was a juvenile at the time of the crime.

The top court took into account a March 27, 2019 report of Additional District and Sessions Judge of Gaya in Bihar which said that the accused was 17 years and six months of age on the date of commission of offence.

A three-judge bench of Justices N V Ramana, M M Shantanagoudar and Ajay Rastogi, said that after taking into consideration the fact that the accused was below 18 years old at the time of offence and the law prevailing as on today, "we are of the considered view that the appellant is entitled to the benefit of juvenility".

"In view of that, there is no need to again send the matter for determination under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 by the Juvenile Justice Board.

"In view of the above, we dispose of the appeal accordingly and direct that the appellant be released forthwith, if he is not required in any other case," the bench said.

On December 13 last year, the top court had asked the Sessions Court in Gaya to determine whether the accused was a juvenile on the date of commission of the offence of murder on August 23/24, 1980 and submit a report to it.

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