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Plea of juvenility has to be raised in bonafide and truthful manner — SC

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By PTI Updated: Feb 15, 2022 10:04 pm
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New Delhi, Feb. 15 (PTI): Plea of juvenility has to be raised in a bonafide and truthful manner and if a document of dubious nature is relied on to seek juvenility, the accused cannot be treated to be juvenile keeping in view that the law is a beneficial legislation, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.

A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian said the provisions of the statute are to be interpreted liberally but the benefit cannot be granted to the appellant who has approached the Court with the untruthful statement.

“Plea of juvenility has to be raised in a bonafide and truthful manner. If the reliance is on a document to seek juvenility which is not reliable or dubious in nature, the appellant cannot be treated to be juvenile keeping in view that the Act is a beneficial legislation,” the bench said.

The top court’s observation came while dismissing an appeal challenging an order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court which set aside direction passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Fatehabad in Haryana.

The sessions judge had declared the accused as a juvenile in conflict with the law.

The top court said the appellant sought to rely upon juvenility only based on the school leaving a record in his application filed under Section 7A of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.

“Such school record is not reliable and seems to be procured only to support the plea of juvenility. The appellant has not referred to the date of birth certificate in his application as it was obtained subsequently,” it said.

The apex court said the appellant has approached the Court with unclean hands as the documents relied upon by him are not genuine and trustworthy.

“Thus, we find that the appellant cannot be given the benefit of juvenility. The view taken by the High Court is a possible view in law and does not call for any interference in the present appeal. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed,” the bench said.

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By PTI Updated: Feb 15, 2022 10:04:15 pm