Chinnappa Reddy, J.
1. In these two Criminal Revision Cases we are concerned with 'young persons', 'children', and 'youthful offenders' as denned in Sections 3 (2) and 3 (3) of the Andhra Pradesh Children Act. 'Young person'' is defined as meaning 'a person who is fourteen years of age or upwards and under the age of sixteen years, 'Child' is defined as meaning 'a person under the age of fourteen years.' 'Youthful offender' is denned as meaning 'a person who has been convicted of an offence punishable with transportation or imprisonment and who at the time of such 'conviction was under the age of sixteen years.' Transportation is no longer a punishment which may be imposed under the Criminal Law of India and 'transportation for life' which was one of the punishments specified in Section 53 of the Indian Penal Code was replaced by 'Imprisonment for life' by the Amending Act of 1955. Section 53-A of the Penal Code, now, further states that any reference to 'transportation' in any other law for the time being in force shall, (a) if the expression means transportation for life, be construed as a reference to imprisonment for life; (b) if the expression means transportation for any shorter term, be deemed to have been omitted. That is how therefore the word 'Transportation' must be understood wherever it is used in the Children Act. It must be understood to mean 'imprisonment for life', which it may be noted is Under Section 53, IPC a category of punishment distinct from imprisonment, which means imprisonment for a term.
2. In S.C. No 70 of 1968, Sri Y. Srikrishna Murthy, the learned Additional Sessions Judge of Cuddapah, convicted Shaik Valli, a young person as defined under the Children Act, of offences Under Sections 302 and 392 read with Section 397, Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for life and rigorous imprisonment for 10 years respectively. He thought that Section 23 (1) of the Children Act precluded him from committing the accused straightway to prison. He therefore directed the accused to be detained in a Senior Certified School till he attained age and further directed that he should thereafter suffer imprisonment for the terms to which he was sentenced.
3. The same learned Judge, later as Additional Sessions Judge of Srikakulam, convicted Yadam Kamaraju and Puvvu Purushottam, two children as defined under the Children Act, of offences Under Section 379 read with Section 34 and Section 302 read with 34, IPC On the count Under Section 379 read with Section 34 each was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 3 years and on the count Under Section 302 read with Section 34 each was sentenced to suffer imprisonment for life. In lieu of the sentence of imprisonment for 3 years the learned Sessions Judge directed the two accused to be detained in Senior Certified School till they attained the age of 18 years and in lieu of the sentence of imprisonment for life he directed them to be detained in a Senior Certified school till they attained the ago of 18 years and thereafter to be sent to a Borstal School.
4. These two Criminal Revision Cases have been filed by the learned Public Prosecutor who contends that the Sessions Judge is wholly barred under the provisions of the Children Act from imposing a sentence of imprisonment for life on a child or on an young person. He also contends that the directions given in the two cases that the accused should suffer imprisonment or should be sent to a Borstal School after detention in a Senior Certified School are illegal. The learned Public Prosecutor is clearly right.
5. The learned Sessions Judge apparently thinks that in the case of young persons, as in the case of adults, it is obligatory to impose the sentence of imprisonment for life for murder and further views a Senior Certified School as a place where young persons may conveniently suffer punishment or may conveniently be detained until they attain the age of eighteen years whereafter they may be sent to prison to suffer sentence. The learned Sessions Judge is clearly in error. Detention ii Certified Schools is not to be considered as or equated to punishment in the sense in which the word is used in Section 53 of the IPC though, of course, it is punishment in a narrow sense because there is a restraint on personal liberty. The object of detention in Certified Schools is to reclaim erring young persons lost or likely to be lost to society by reason of environment or bad upbringing or companionship and to make good citizens of them. A certified school is a correctional institution and not a prison. Section 22 of the Children Ad places a complete embargo on a child, i.e., a person under 14 years of age being sentenced to death, imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term.
There is also a similar absolute embargo on a young person, i.e. one between 14 and 16 years of age, being sentenced to death or imprisonment for life. In the case of young persons also there is a ban on their being sentenced to imprisonment for a term but under the proviso to Section 22 the ban may be lifted if the young person is of so unruly or of so depraved a character that he is not a fit person to be sent to a Senior Certified School and none of the other methods, in which the case may legally be dealt with, is suitable In other words, the ban against imposition of a sentence of imprisonment for a term, on a young person may be lifted only as a last resort; if the young person is considered so incorrigible that it is thought that he cannot be suitably dealt with in any other manner than directing him to suffer imprisonment. The several methods in which a young person or child who is found guilty of an offence may be dealt with are enumerated in Section 28 of the Act.
Imprisonment for life is not one of the methods specified. Section 23, in particular prescribes what may be done with a person between the age of twelve and sixteen years who is convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term. It says that the person, in addition to or in lieu of being sentenced according to law, be ordered to be detained in a Senior Certified School. This must naturally be read subject to Section 22 which imposes an absolute ban against a sentence of imprisonment for life, an absolute ban against a sentence of imprisonment for a term being passed on a child and a conditional ban against a sentence of imprisonment for a term being imposed on a young person. Section 23 does not enable a court to order1 a young person or a child to be detained in a Certified School till he attains age so that he may suffer imprisonment. The whole object of sending a child or young person to a Certified School is to give him correctional training and make him a worthy citizen and that object is frustrated if the child or young person is to be sent to prison from the Certified School. What Section 23 empowers the Court to do is to send a young person to a Senior Certified School, in addition to or in lieu of a legally permissible sentence. It does not authorise the imposition of a sentence prohibited by some other provision.
Where a young person is found guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment for life, the Court cannot impose that sentence but may either direct his detention in a Senior Certified School for the period prescribed by Section 24 of the Act or it may proceed to 'act Under Section 27 which provides that if a child or young person is convicted of an offence of so serious a nature that the Court is of opinion that no punishment which under the provisions of the Act it is authorised to inflict is sufficient, the Court shall order the offender to be kept in safe custody and shall report the case for the orders of State Government. Where the young person is convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment the Court should not ordinarily impose the sentence of imprisonment. It may sentence him to imprisonment if it is satisfied that the young person is of so unruly or of so depraved a character that he is not a fit person to be sent to a Senior Certified School and that none of 'the other methods, in which the case may legally be dealt with, is suitable.
Even in a case where the young person is sentenced to suffer imprisonment because of his unruly or depraved character the Court may still consider the question whether in addition to the imprisonment the young person may not also be usefully sent to a Senior Certified School after the term of imprisonment. For example, the Court may feel that while a short term of imprisonment may do good to a bad character it may also feel it will be possible to reclaim him for society if instead of sending him back to his old environment and companionship he is sent to a Senior Certified School immediately after suffering a short term of imprisonment. Where the Court is satisfied that the young person is not of an unruly or depraved character it may take action 'Under Section 27 in exceptional case, but ordinarily it. should send him to a Senior Certified School Under Section 23 of the Act. The period for which a young person may be sent to a senior Certified School is prescribed by Section 24 of the Act.
6. The Sessions Judge, in the present cases was, therefore, in error in sentencing the accused to suffer imprisonment for life. He was also in error in sentencing them to imprisonment for the offences Under Sections 379 and 392 in the absence of a finding that the accused were of an unruly and depraved character. We, therefore, set aside all the sentences passed by the learned Sessions Judge in the two cases and instead direct that each of the accused, namely, Shaik Valli, accused in Sessions Case No 70/1967 on the file of the Court of Session. Cuddapah and Yadam Kamaraju and Duvvu Purushottam, accused in Sessions Case No. 14/1968 on the file of the Court of Session Srikakulam be detained in a Senior Certified School till they attain the age of 18 years.