Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court: In a case filed by a father (‘petitioner’) seeking for setting aside the order passed by the Juvenile Justice Board (‘JJB’) directing for medical examination of the accused child which ascertained his age to be 21 years, a division bench of Revati Mohite Dere and Madhav J Jamdar JJ., set aside the impugned order as the age was ascertained flouting the provisions stated under Section 94 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (‘JJ Act’). The age of the boy was found to be of 16 years (on the date of incident) as per the Aadhar card produced before the police, which was maliciously hidden as the father refused to pay a bribe to the police official concerned.

The petitioner was taken into custody for the alleged offences punishable under Sections 302, 307, 397, 326, 143, 145, 147, 148, 149, 504, 506(II), 34 of Penal Code, 1860 r/w Sections 4 and 25 of the Arms Act, 1959 and Section 37(1)(A) r/w 135 of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that respondent 3- Samadhan Wagh, a police official, malafidely did not produce the documents, before the Juvenile Justice Board and Metropolitan Magistrate. The same was handed over by the petitioner’s father to show that his son was a Juvenile at the relevant time to the police official but Rs. 50000 was demanged by Wagh which was he refused to pay .

It was further submitted that as per Section 94 of JJ Act, only in the absence of any document to show the juvenility of a person, that the age is to be determined by conducting an ossification test or any other latest medical age determination test conducted on the orders of the Committee or the Board. However, in the present case, the Juvenile Justice Board ordered for medical examination without any document verification, which was further upheld by Metropolitan Magistrate.

The Court noted that the documents relied upon, in particular, the Aadhar Card was prepared in 2011 and as such, the petitioner or his father could not have anticipated any impending case against the petitioner. The Juvenile Justice Board also should have sought documents from respondent 3 before resorting to clause (3) of Section 94 of the JJ Act.

The Court further noted that from the documents which are annexed to the petition, the date of birth of the petitioner appears to be 04-06-2005, which, prima-facie shows that at the relevant time, petitioner was a juvenile.

The Court thus sets aside the impugned orders dated 26-08-2021 and 8-11- 2021. finding non-compliance with the provisions of Section 94 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

The Court further directed the investigation in the matter to be handed from respondent 3 to the senior inspector of police and placed relevant documents before JJB so that appropriate orders could be passed.

The Court also directed Superintendent, Thane Central Prison to shift the petitioner to the Child Observation Home, Dongri. The directions were given to Additional Commissioner of Police, North Region, Mumbai to conduct an inquiry with respect to the allegations made against respondent 3 which will be heard by ACP only.

[Vikas Ramji Yadav v. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 2299, decided on 07-09-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Vashishtha Arora i/b Mr. Vipul M. Yadav for the Petitioner

Ms. S. D. Shinde, A.P.P for the Respondent—State

Sr. P.I Mr. Jeevan Kharat, from Dindoshi Police Station was present

P.I Mr. Samadhan Wagh from Dindoshi Police Station was present

*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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