An accused who allegedly ran over a 32-year-old marketing executive while driving Mercedes in 2016 will be tried as a juvenile as the crime does not fall under the category of ''heinous'' offence under the Juvenile Justice Act, the Supreme Court held on Thursday.
The accused, who was a minor at the time of the incident and just four days short of turning a major, had fatally run Siddharth Sharma in his father's Mercedes when the victim was trying to cross a road near Ludlow Castle School in north Delhi on April 4, 2016.
A bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said that an offence, which does not provide a minimum sentence of seven years, cannot be treated to be an heinous offence.
The top court said the scheme of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is that children should be protected and treating children as adults is an exception to the rule.
"It is also a well settled principle of statutory interpretation that normally an exception has to be given a restricted meaning," the bench said.
As per Juvenile Justice Act, a juvenile can be tried as an adult only in cases of ''heinous'' offences where the minimum punishment is seven years in jail.
However, no minimum sentence is prescribed under the law .
The Juvenile Justice Board in its 2016 order held that the accused has committed a heinous offence, and, therefore should be tried as an adult.
The Delhi High Court, however, ruled against it and held that since no minimum sentence is prescribed for the offence, the said offence did not fall within the ambit of Section 2(33) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
Challenging the Delhi High Court order, sister of 32-year-old marketing executive had moved the top court.