June 21, 2018:
A Sessions Court in Delhi refused to uphold murder conviction of a minor, stating that the a juvenile in conflict with law has to be assumed innocent if he or she acts under influence of the adults.
The Session Court Judge censured Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), which had convicted the minor, for not hearing him fully at the time of inquiry and “committing illegality” as a result.
It was alleged that in the year 2009, Juvenile, along with his family members, had attacked a woman and killed her. Juvenile reportedly hurled abuses at the victim and also punched her.
Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Bansal noted that even if the minor had committed these offences, the principle of innocence would still apply.
Sessions Court stated that,“It is clear in the present case, the appellant was in the company of his parents and other relatives, many of whom were adults. As such, the principle of innocence would also apply to the facts and circumstances of the present case”.
‘Principle of presumption of innocence’ states that any unlawful conduct of a juvenile committed for survival or due to the environmental or situational factors or under control of the adults or peer groups would be covered by Principles of innocence.
ADJ Sanjay Bansal highlighted, the acts were committed “under the control of the adults”.
During the Hearingm it came to light that, Woman’s postmortem report had nowhere been referred to by any of the witnesses. It also never became a part of the record as it was not “proved” by any witness. The Session Judge stated that,“However, JJB relied upon the postmortem report. This approach was wrong”.
Session Court stated that the juvenile should have got an opportunity to challenge the report. As the Postmortem Report regarding the nature of injury was heavily relied upon by JJB to conclude that it was a case of murder, it should have granted the appellant an opportunity to contest the said opinion.