14 Sep 2022 12:30 PM GMT
The Bombay High Court has ordered an inquiry to be conducted into a father's allegations that his son was being wrongfully treated as an adult in a murder case despite being a juvenile.Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Madhav Jamdar passed the order in a petition praying for a writ of habeas corpus for release or production of the petitioner detained at the Thane Central Prison.The court...
The Bombay High Court has ordered an inquiry to be conducted into a father's allegations that his son was being wrongfully treated as an adult in a murder case despite being a juvenile.
Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Madhav Jamdar passed the order in a petition praying for a writ of habeas corpus for release or production of the petitioner detained at the Thane Central Prison.
The court directed the Additional Commissioner of Police, North Region, Mumbai, to conduct an inquiry into the allegations made by the father against the Police Inspector (PI) investigating the case.
The petitioner was booked for offences under the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and the Maharashtra Police Act on August 13, 2021. He is a minor according to his father.
Petitioner was produced initially before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and was kept in the Children Observation Home. The petitioner's father was asked to submit age related documents.
The father claims that he produced his son's AADHAR card and school documents to the PI who demanded a sum of Rs. 50,000. However, since he could not pay the amount, the PI filed an application to the JJB for medical examination to determine the boy's age, it is alleged.
The medical officer determined the boy's age to be about 20 – 21 years after which the JJB on November 3, 2021 ordered the petitioner to be produced before the regular court as he was a major.
Advocate Vashishtha Arora for the petitioner submitted that the PI malafidely did not produce the documents submitted by the father at the relevant time. Further, the JJB did not comply with the process of age determination under Section 94 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. Ossification test or any other medical test to determine age of a person can be done only in the absence of any document to show the juvenility of a person.
The court observed that prima facie there was substance in the petitioner's contentions based on the documents submitted by the father. The JJB should have sought documents from the PI before resorting to Section 94(3) of the Act. The documents prima facie show that the petitioner was a juvenile at the time of the incident, the Court said.
The court set aside orders of the JJB on account of non-compliance of Section 94 of the Act and passed the following directions –
The investigation to be handed over by the PI to Senior Inspector of Police, Dindoshi Police Station.
The Senior PI to place all the documents submitted by the petitioner before the JJB within one week.
The JJB is to consider the documents and pass appropriate orders in accordance with law.
The petitioner to be shifted from Thane Central Jail to the Children Observation Home at Dongri until further orders are passed in the petition
Case No. – Criminal Writ Petition No. 321 of 2022
Citation : 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 328
Case Title – Vikas Ramji Yadav Through Ramji Yadav v. State of Maharashtra & Ors
Coram – Justice Revati Mohite Dere & Justice Madhav J. Jamdar
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