Section 7A of the JJ Act stipulates that an application can be filed before any court at any stage including the stage after the final disposal of the petition. However, once a convict has chosen to take the plea of juvenility before the learned Magistrate, High Court and also before the Supreme Court and the said plea has been rejected up to the Supreme Court, the petitioner cannot be allowed to reagitate the plea of juvenility by filing fresh application under Section 7A of the JJ Act. Considering the earlier orders passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate dated 10.01.2013 and the judgment of the High Court dated 13.03.2014 and the order passed by the Supreme Court dated 09.07.2018, in our view, the learned Single Judge of the Delhi High Court rightly dismissed the revision petition. We do not find any ground warranting interference with the impugned order.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRIMINAL) NO. 547 OF 2020
[Arising out of SLP(Crl.) D No.2122 of 2020]
PAWAN KUMAR GUPTA …Petitioner
VERSUS
STATE OF NCT OF DELHI …Respondent
O R D E R
Accused Pawan Kumar Gupta has filed this SLP
challenging the order dated 19.12.2019 passed by the High Court
of Delhi in Criminal Revision Petition No.1301 of 2019 dismissing
the claim of the petitioner of juvenility.

  1. Contention of the petitioner Pawan Kumar Gupta is that he
    was a juvenile at the time of commission of the offence and that
    the same is apparent from the School Leaving Certificate issued
    in his favour by Gayatri Bal Sanskar Shala, Narayan Pur, Tanda,
    District Ambedkar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh. According to the
    petitioner, as per the said certificate, his date of birth is
    08.10.1996 and therefore, on the date of alleged incident i.e.
    16.12.2012, the petitioner was aged only 16 years 02 months and
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    08 days and that he was a juvenile on the date of the alleged
    commission of the offence. Contention of the petitioner is that the
    certificate has been found to be genuine by the investigating
    officials and therefore, prayed for holding an enquiry in terms of
    Section 7A of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of
    Children) Act, 2000 (for short “JJ Act”). According to the petitioner
    Pawan Kumar Gupta, as per Section 21 of the Act, no child in
    conflict with law shall be sentenced to death or imprisonment for
    life. The said petition was dismissed by the Additional Sessions
    Judge, FTC Court No.7 by order dated 21.12.2018. In the said
    order dated 21.12.2018, the learned Sessions Judge referred to
    the order dated 10.01.2013 passed by the learned Metropolitan
    Magistrate. The learned Sessions Judge also referred to the
    order of the Supreme Court dated 09.07.2018 in and by which the
    Supreme Court had inter alia rejected the plea of juvenility taken
    by the petitioner Pawan Kumar Gupta while dismissing the review
    petition. The learned Sessions Judge held that the Supreme
    Court has held that the petitioner is not a juvenile on the date of
    commission of the offence and in view of the order passed by the
    Supreme Court dated 09.07.2018, the Sessions Judge would
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    have no jurisdiction to determine the age of the petitioner Pawan
    Kumar Gupta in terms of Section 7A of the JJ Act.
  2. By the impugned order, the High Court also referred to the
    order of the Supreme Court dated 09.07.2018 and pointed out
    that the Supreme Court had taken note that the investigating
    officials have verified the School Leaving Certificate from the
    concerned school authorities and the order passed by the
    Metropolitan Magistrate dated 10.01.2013 and after consideration
    of all the documents, the Supreme Court negatived the plea of
    juvenility taken by the petitioner Pawan Kumar Gupta by its order
    dated 09.07.2018. In the impugned order, the High Court in detail
    referred to the order passed by the learned Metropolitan
    Magistrate dated 10.01.2013 and the order of the Supreme Court
    dated 09.07.2018 and rejected the plea of juvenility raised by the
    petitioner. While dismissing the plea of juvenility, the High Court
    had noted that the petitioner had earlier raised the plea of
    juvenility in the review petition filed before the Supreme Court
    against the death penalty awarded to him and that the same was
    dismissed by the Supreme Court on 09.07.2018.
  3. We have heard Mr. A.P. Singh, learned counsel appearing
    for the petitioner and Mr. Tushar Mehta, learned Solicitor General
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    and Mr. Siddharth Luthra, learned Senior counsel appearing for
    the NCT of Delhi and perused the impugned order and other
    materials on record.
  4. Mr. A.P. Singh, learned counsel for the petitioner has
    submitted that the High Court has passed the order without
    hearing him. In that view, we have taken note of the grievance of
    the petitioner on merits. We have heard Mr. A.P. Singh at length
    and considered his submissions on merits and the grounds raised
    in the SLP.
  5. Contending that the plea of juvenility can be raised at any
    stage, learned counsel for the petitioner placed reliance upon
    Ram Narain v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2015) 17 SCC 699 and
    Upendra Pradhan v. State of Orissa (2015) 11 SCC 124. The
    learned counsel also placed reliance upon Ashwani Kumar
    Saxena v. State of Madhya Pradesh (2012) 9 SCC 750 wherein
    para (32) of the said judgment lays down the procedure to be
    followed to determine the age of the accused claiming to be
    juvenile. It has been held that once the procedure as stipulated
    under the Act has been followed, that order shall be the
    conclusive proof of the age as regards the child in conflict with
    law.
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  6. As held in Ram Narain v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2015) 17
    SCC 699, claim of juvenility may be raised at any stage even
    after final disposal of the case. It may also be raised for the first
    time even after final disposal of the matter. However, once the
    accused has chosen to take the plea of juvenility before the trial
    court, before the High Court and also before the Supreme Court
    and the said plea has been rejected, it is not open to the accused
    to reagitate the plea of juvenility by filing the fresh application
    under Section 7A of the JJ Act.
  7. In the present case, this is not the first time that the
    petitioner has raised the plea of juvenility. When the matter was
    pending before the trial court, plea of juvenility was raised by the
    petitioner at the first instance. The learned trial court vide order
    dated 07.01.2013 directed the Investigating Officer to file a report
    regarding the documents he has relied upon to determine the age
    of the accused. Upon consideration of the report of the
    Investigating Officer, vide order dated 10.01.2013, the learned
    Metropolitan Magistrate has held that the age verification report of
    the petitioner Pawan Kumar Gupta was received and that the
    accused did not dispute the age verification report filed by the
    Investigating Officer and further, he did not dispute the age to be
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    above 18 years at the time of commission of the offence. When
    the matter was pending before the lower courts, earlier the
    petitioner has raised the plea of juvenility and by order dated
    10.01.2013, the learned Metropolitan Magistrate has rejected the
    plea of juvenility. In the said order, the learned Metropolitan
    Magistrate pointed out that the prosecution has placed certified
    copies of the admission register of the petitioner when he first
    attended the school and the same has been filed on record. It is
    stated that age verification report of the petitioner Pawan Kumar
    Gupta had been received and also certified copies had been filed
    before the learned Metropolitan Magistrate. It is stated that the
    said report referred to the statement of the parents of both the
    petitioner Pawan Kumar Gupta and co-accused Vinay Sharma
    where they (parents) have confirmed the age of their sons.
    Pointing out that the parents of the petitioner or the counsel then
    appearing for Pawan Kumar Gupta have not raised any objection
    as to the age verification report filed by the IO and have not
    disputed the age of the petitioner to be above 18 years on the
    date and time of commission of the offence, the learned
    Metropolitan Magistrate has negatived the plea of juvenility. This
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    order dated 10.01.2013 has not been challenged by the
    petitioner.
  8. When the criminal appeal was pending before the High
    Court in Crl.App. No.1398 of 2013, the petitioner and co-accused
    Vinay have raised the plea of juvenility that they were juvenile on
    the date of the alleged commission of the offence. Upon
    consideration of the submissions, by the reasons stated in paras
    (150) to (153), by its judgment dated 13.03.2014, the High Court
    rejected the plea of juvenility raised by the petitioner. The High
    Court has also pointed out that the order passed by the learned
    Metropolitan Magistrate dated 10.01.2013 has not been
    challenged. In para (150), the High Court pointed out that by the
    order dated 10.01.2013, the learned Metropolitan Magistrate has
    held that the parents of the petitioner Pawan Kumar Gupta had
    confirmed his age as set out in the report which was included in
    the statement of the parents of the petitioner. In para (150), the
    High Court observed as under:-
    “150. ……It may be noted that the learned M.M. in her order has clearly
    recorded the fact that the parents of Vinay Sharma and Pawan Kumar
    had confirmed the age of their respective wards as set out in the Report
    which included the written statement of the parents of both the accused
    persons. Learned M.M. further noted that the counsel for accused Vinay
    Sharma and Pawan Kumar along with the said accused had not raised
    7
    any objection to the Age Verification Report filed by the I.O. and the
    accused did not dispute their age to be above 18 years at the time of the
    commission of the offence.”
  9. The plea of juvenility was then raised by the petitioner in the
    review petition before the Supreme Court. After referring to the
    submissions of the learned counsel for the NCT of Delhi and the
    order of the learned Metropolitan Magistrate dated 10.01.2013,
    the Supreme Court by its order dated 09.07.2018 has rejected the
    plea of juvenility taken by the petitioner and the co-accused Vinay
    Sharma and that order has attained finality. The relevant portion
    of the order dated 09.07.2018 passed by the Supreme Court
    reads as under:-
    “18. …..On the claim that Pawan was a juvenile, Shri Luthra referred to
    the order dated 10-1-2013 where age verification report of Pawan has
    been received and also certified copies had been filed on record. The
    report had referred to the written statement of the parents of both these
    accused where they have confirmed the age of their wards. There was
    no infirmity in the trial court taking decision that both were major and the
    trial court proceeded accordingly. There is no substance in the
    submission raised by the learned counsel for the petitioners.
    ……..
  10. Now, coming to the submission of the learned counsel for Petitioner
    2 that he was juvenile at the time of occurrence. The said issue was also
    considered by the trial court and rejected. The trial court on the basis of
    the material placed before it had rightly concluded that Petitioner 2 was
    not a juvenile. The learned counsel for the respondent has rightly
    referred to the proceedings of the trial court dated 10-9-2013. In this
    8
    respect this submission also does not furnish any ground for review of
    the judgment.”
  11. Section 7A of the JJ Act stipulates that an application can
    be filed before any court at any stage including the stage after the
    final disposal of the petition. However, once a convict has chosen
    to take the plea of juvenility before the learned Magistrate, High
    Court and also before the Supreme Court and the said plea has
    been rejected up to the Supreme Court, the petitioner cannot be
    allowed to reagitate the plea of juvenility by filing fresh application
    under Section 7A of the JJ Act. Considering the earlier orders
    passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate dated 10.01.2013 and the
    judgment of the High Court dated 13.03.2014 and the order
    passed by the Supreme Court dated 09.07.2018, in our view, the
    learned Single Judge of the Delhi High Court rightly dismissed the
    revision petition. We do not find any ground warranting
    interference with the impugned order.
  12. Mr. A.P. Singh has submitted that the High Court has made
    certain observations against him which is prejudicial to his rights.
    He further submitted that he was not present at the time of
    passing of the order by the High Court and as such the
    observations are not justified. We have considered the above
    9
    submission raised by learned counsel for the petitioner but do not
    express any opinion as it is not germane to the present issue. We
    however reserve liberty to Mr. Singh to take appropriate
    proceedings separately against the observations made by the
    High Court against him.
  13. In the result, the SLP is dismissed.
    ………………………..J.
    [R. BANUMATHI]
    ..………………………..J.
    [ASHOK BHUSHAN]
    .………………………..J.
    [A.S. BOPANNA]
    New Delhi;
    January 20, 2020.
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