Crl.M.P. No.853 of 2013 In Criminal Appeal No.811 of 2011. Case: Nagoor Pichai @ Badusha Vs State Tr. Sub-Inspector of Police. Supreme Court (India)

Case NumberCrl.M.P. No.853 of 2013 In Criminal Appeal No.811 of 2011
JudgesT.S. Thakur and Vikramajit Sen, JJ.
IssueTamil Nadu Borstal Schools Act, 1925 - Sections 2(1), 8, 10; Indian Penal Code - Section 302; Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 - Sections 110, 118; Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000
Judgement DateSeptember 19, 2013
CourtSupreme Court (India)

Judgment:

Vikramajit Sen, J.

1. The only question agitated before us by learned Senior Counsel for the Petitioner is that the provisions of Tamil Nadu Borstal Schools Act, 1925 (hereinafter 'Borstal Schools Act') have been ignored by the Courts below. It is evident from a perusal of the impugned judgment that the applicability of the said statute has not been raised in either of the Courts below. Briefly stated, the Petitioner has been sentenced to life imprisonment under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code for the murder of his paternal uncle on 12.8.1999. It is not disputed before us that the Petitioner's date of birth is 29.11.1979 thereby making him 19 years 8 months of age on the date of the commission of the murder. The Petitioner having been found guilty has been sentenced to life imprisonment vide judgment of the Trial Court pronounced on 6.9.2002, on which date the Petitioner was 22 years 9 months old. It is contended before us by learned Senior Counsel that the Courts below erred in not directing the detention of the Petitioner in a Borstal School.

2. The Borstal Schools Act does not contemplate the term 'juvenile' at all. However, the definition of 'adolescent offender' is contained in Section 2(1) of the said Act and reads thus:

'Adolescent offender' means any person who has been convicted of any offence punishable with imprisonment or who having been ordered to give security under section 118 of the Code of Criminal Procedure has failed to do so and who at the time of such conviction or failure to give security is not less than 16 in the case of a boy and not less than 18 in the case of a girl, but not more than 21 years of age in either case.

We should clarify that Section 118 corresponds to Section 110 of the current 1973 Cr.P.C. The age of a juvenile prior to the present Act was 16 years and a legal anachronism palpably exists requiring an amendment to the Borstal Schools Act substituting the age of 16 years by 18 years for a boy. 'Adolescent' is seldom considered in any legal dictionary, whereas juvenile/minor/child is ubiquitously dealt with. Adolescence is the penumbral period (presently between 18 years and 23 years) when, for good reason, a person is not perceived and treated as an adult for the purposes of incarceration. The Borstal School is a halfway house intended to prepare a person for imprisonment in a regular/ordinary jail. Section 8 of the Borstal Schools Act stipulates that a convict cannot remain in a...

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