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After 28 years on death row, a man is freed by Supreme Court as it determines that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence

Last Updated on March 29, 2023 by Administrator

Issue – The Supreme Court freed a man who was on death row after concluding that although he was a minor when the crime was committed, he was tried as an adult and received the death penalty.

Facts of the case – The prisoner killed five women and two children in Pune, along with two other accomplices He has been imprisoned for more than 28 years after being taken into custody in Rajasthan. In 1998, the Trial Court had found him guilty and given him the death penalty. Both the High Court and the Supreme Court upheld the verdict. A review petition was then submitted, but it was ultimately denied. It was then claimed that Narayan was a juvenile at the time the offence was committed in an application made according to Section 9(2) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

Arguments – The Court took note that he was referred to as “Niranaram” in a letter sent to the President of India asking for the death penalty to be revoked due to his youth. Once more, Central Jail’s Superintendent, Yerawada, identified the applicant as Narayan and listed his birthdate as 01.02.1982 in a letter to the Maharashtra Government’s Home Department.

Reasoning – Indicating that the maximum term under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (2015 Act) is a three-year sentence and no one can be executed. 

The enquiry was conducted as a fact-finding enquiry, according to the court, and did not follow the steps of a summons trial; there was no oath-based questioning or cross-examination.

Judgement – The Court avoided making assumptions about whether a youngster of 12 years could have perpetrated such a heinous conduct, noting that it lacked knowledge of juvenile psychology and criminology. The death row prisoner was freed after the court accepted the investigating judge’s report.

Provisions used in the case – Section 9(2) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

Case – Narayan Chetanram Chaudhary v. State of Maharashtra

Written by – Nikita Shankar  

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