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UNIVERSITY OF PETROLEUM AND ENERGY STUDIES

College of Legal Studies


Pratap Singh v. State of Jharkhand 2005 (3) SCC 551

Submitted to:

Submitted by:

Dr. Gaurav Kataria,

Abhishek Chhabra

College of Legal Studies,

BA LLB Semester VI
SAP ID- 500011974
Roll No- 5

Pratap Singh v. State of Jharkhand 2005 (3) SCC 551

Case Analysis

The facts of the case chronologically are mentioned below

01/01/ 1999 An FIR was lodged against Pratap Singh in Bokaro City regarding the
commission of offence to be allegedly occurred on 31.12.1998 under Section 364A,
302/201 read with section 120-B of IPC, 1860.

22/11/1999 - The accused was arrested and produced before the CJM Chas who
determined his age to be around 18 years.

28/2/2000 - The accused filed a petition before CJM Chas claiming his age to be below
18 and sought permission to transfer the matter to the Juvenile Court.

03/03/2000 - The accused was produced before Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and the
Juvenile Judge assessed the age to be 15-16 years and asked for medical examination for
the same and directed for medical examination by constituting the medical board for age
determination of the accused.

No such Medical Board was constituted thereafter.

ACJM through the help school certificate and the mark sheet of secondary board came to
the finding that the age of accused at the time of commission of offence was below 16 yrs
and released the accused on bail.

The informant appealed to the Session Court which upheld the finding of lower court and
then subsequently the informant filed the revision petition in High Court and the High
Court appreciating the decision of the lower court referred the matter to the constitution

bench due to variance of judicial precedents over the determination of age of the
juvenile and also presence of substantial question in law regarding conflict of the
applicability of 1986 Act and the 2000Act.

As answers to the questions raised by the 5 judge bench of the Supreme


Court-

whilst holding that the reckoning date for determination of the age of the juvenile is the
date of offence, observed, It is settled law that the interpretation of the Statute of
beneficial legislation must be to advance the cause of legislation to the benefit for whom
it is made and not to frustrate the intendment of the legislation.

Courts that once accorded juveniles the benefits of juvenile legislation are gradually
changing their stance.

A claim of juvenility raised for the first time before the Supreme Court is being looked
upon with suspicion.

Death sentences are confirmed inspite of ambiguity as to whether the convict is a


juvenile.

Also highlighted the aims and objectives of the JUVENILE JUSTICE ACT, 1986
which are as follows(i)

To lay down a uniform legal framework for juvenile justice in the country so as to
ensure that no child under any circumstances is lodged in jail or police lock-up. This
is being ensured by establishing Juvenile Welfare Boards and Juvenile Courts;

(ii)

To provide for a specialized approach towards the prevention and treatment of


juvenile delinquency in its full range in keeping with the developmental needs of the
child found in any situation of social maladjustment;

(iii)

To spell out the machinery and infrastructure required for the care, protection,
treatment, development and rehabilitation of various categories of children coming
within the purview of the juvenile justice system. This is proposed to be achieved by
establishing observation homes, juvenile homes for neglected juveniles and special
homes for delinquent juveniles;

(iv)

To establish norms and standards for the administration of juvenile justice in terms of
investigation and prosecution, adjudication and disposition, and care, treatment and
rehabilitation;

(v)

To develop appropriate linkages and co-ordination between the formal system of


juvenile justice and voluntary agencies engaged in the welfare of neglected or socially
maladjusted children and to specifically define the areas of their responsibilities and
roles;

(vi)
(vii)

To constitute special offences in relation to juveniles and provide for punishments.


To bring the operation of the juvenile justice system in the country in conformity
with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rule for the Administration of Juvenile

Justice.
With regard to the applicability of Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 over the cases pending and dealt
under the 1986 Act. The Court took reference of Section 18, 20, 26 ,32 and the preamble of
1986 Act and held that the benefits offered to the delinquent juveniles under 2000 act must be
made available to them and it has retrospective effect to this extent.

SELF COMMENT:

This is a landmark case with regard to the Juvenile Justice in India and the determination of the age of
the juvenile delinquent and also applicability of the term juvenile in conflict of law.