Karnataka High Court has issued some important directives with regard to constitution of Medical Board to carry out age determination of Juveniles in conflict with Law. Justice K.N.Phaneendra has also asked the state to inform all the Doctors in the State that they shall not individually conduct any age determination examination of any Juvenile in conflict with law referred to them for age determination, unless they are declared as Medical Board.
The Directives were issued by the Court while setting aside a lower court order by observing that it has committed a serious error in relying upon the medical evidence issued by a non-competent person as the rule contemplate that the competency of giving certificate of age vests with the Medical Board.
The court also said that no individual Doctor, who is not declared to be the Medical Board can give such opinion about age of the Juvenile in conflict with law and it is mandate of law that under Rule 12 of the 35 Rules, 2007, the accused has to be referred to the Medical Board duly constituted, which will declare the age of the Juvenile or the child as on the date of offence.When the law says, a particular thing has to be done in a particular manner, it should be done in such a manner only, the Court added and issued following directives
It is also necessary to direct the Karnataka State Judicial Academy and Karnataka Legal Services Authorities to conduct appropriate Legal Awareness Programs to all stake-holders, particularly the Chairmen of Juvenile Justice Board and its Members, Presiding Officers of Special Courts under the POCSO Act, Police Officers and Doctors, who are the stakeholders entrusted with the task of age determination of the Juvenile in conflict with law in any manner and appraise and enlighten them with regard to the provisions of the JJ (CPC) Act,2000, JJ (CPC) Rules, 2007 and also POCSO Act, in order to strictly adhere to the legal requirements to deal with the Juvenile in conflict with law.
In the above said circumstances, there is no reason to sustain the order of the learned Special Judge. Hence, the same is liable to be set aside. 36. In view of above, I proceed to pass the following : ORDER The petition is allowed. The order passed by the learned Sessions Judge (Special Judge), Bidar, in Special Case No.4/2015 dated 22.04.2015 is hereby set aside. Consequently, the matter is remitted to the learned Special Judge for fresh consideration of the age of the accused before him after strictly following Rule 12 of the J.J (CPC) Rules, 2007 in its letter and spirit, and thereafter pass appropriate orders bearing in mind the guidelines laid down in the decisions of the Hon'ble Apex Court reported in the case of Shah Nawaz [2011(13)SCC 751] and Kulai Ibrahim @ Ibrahim [2014 (12) SC 332] (cited supra) and also in the body of this order. The Registry is hereby directed to send a copy of this order to the Chief Secretary of the State of Karnataka, Secretary to Department of Medical Education, Secretary to Health and Family Welfare Department of State of Karnataka, and also to the Director General of Police of State, for proper instructions to the concerned and needful action as per the directions issued by this Court at Paragraphs-28 to 33 of this order. The Registry is also directed to send a copy of this order to the Member Secretary to the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority and to the Director of Karnataka Judicial Academy for kind information and appropriate action as narrated in the body of this order.
Read the Judgment here.