Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No. 1953 of 2013. Case: Dr. Subramanian Swamy and Ors. Vs Raju, through Member, Juvenile Justice Board and Anr.. Supreme Court (India)

Case NumberSpecial Leave Petition (Crl.) No. 1953 of 2013
CounselFor Appearing Parties: Party-in-Person, Sidharth Luthra, ASG, Mukul Gupta and Geeta Luthra, Sr. Advs., Supriya Juneja, Anjali Chauhan, C.B. Prasad, Gurmohan Singh Bedi, B.V. Balaram Das, B. Krishna Prasad, A.J. Bhambhani, Nisha Bhambhani, Anant K. Asthana, Apurv Chandola and Sudarsh Menon, Advs., Amod Kr. Kanth (Intervenor-in-Person) and A.K. ...
JudgesP. Sathasivam, C.J.I., Ranjana Prakash Desai and Ranjan Gogoi, JJ.
IssueJuvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 - Sections 2, 28; Indian Penal Code (IPC) - Section 302; Constitution of India - Articles 14, 21, 32; Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (CrPC)
Citation2013 (83) ALLCC 718, 2013 (4) BomCR 301 (Cri), 2013 (5) CTC 106, 2013 (4) JLJR 184, JT 2013 (11) SC 433, 2013 (4) PLJR 140, 2013 (4) RCR 131 (Cri), 2013 (10) SCALE 365, 2013 (10) SCC 465
Judgement DateAugust 22, 2013
CourtSupreme Court (India)


Ranjan Gogoi, J.

1. Should the adjudication sought for by the Petitioner be refused at the threshold on the basis of the fairly well established legal proposition that a third party/stranger does not have any right to participate in a criminal prosecution which is primarily the function of the State. The aforesaid question arises in the following facts and circumstances.

2. On 16.12.2012, a ghastly incident of gang rape took place in a moving bus in the streets of Delhi. In connection with the said incident six accused were arrested on 22.12.2012, one of whom, namely, the first Respondent in the present special leave petition was a juvenile on the date of the occurrence of the crime. The victim of the offence died on 29.1.2013. While the Juvenile Justice Board (hereinafter for short "the Board") was in seisin of the matter against the first Respondent, the Petitioners in the special leave petition approached the Board seeking impleadment in the proceedings before the Board and an interpretation of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (hereinafter for short 'the JJ Act') so as to enable the prosecution of the first Respondent in a regular criminal court. According to the Petitioners while the Board did not pass any written orders in the matter it had expressed its inability to decide the question of law brought before it and directed the Petitioners to approach a higher Court. Accordingly, on 18.1.2013 the Petitioners filed a public interest litigation in the High Court of Delhi with the following prayers.

(i) Laying down an authoritative interpretation of Sections 2(l) and 2(k) of the Act that the criterion of 18 years set out therein does not comprehend cases grave offences in general and of heinous crimes against women in particular that shakes the roots of humanity in general.

(ii) That the definition of offences under Section 2(p) of the Act be categorized as per the grievousness of the crime committed and the threat to public safety and order.

(iii) That Section 28 of the Act be interpreted in terms of its definition, i.e., Alternative Punishment and serious offences having minimum punishment of 7 years imprisonment and above be brought outside its purview and the same should be tried by an Ordinary Criminal Court.

(iv) Incorporating in the Act, the international concept of age of Criminal Responsibility and diluting the blanket immunity provided to the juvenile offender on the basis of age.

(v) That the instant Act be read down in consonance with the rights of victim as protected by various Fundamental Rights including Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

(vi) Pass such other and further order or orders as this Hon'ble Court may deem fit and proper in the facts and circumstances of the case.

3. By order dated 23.1.2013 the High Court declined to answer the questions raised on the ground that the Petitioners had an alternative remedy under the JJ Act against the order as may have been passed by the Board. On the very next day, i.e., on 24.1.2013 the Board...

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