Published on: September 14, 2022 at 20:45 IST
Recently, the Bombay High Court issued an order for an investigation into claims made by a parent that his young son was being tried as an adult in a murder case by the Mumbai police [Vikas Ramji Yadav vs. State of Maharashtra].
The decision was reached in a habeas corpus petition filed by the father asking for the release or production of his son, who was being held at Thane Central Prison.
The petition was heard by a division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Madhav Jamdar.
The High Court found that there was merit to the petitioner’s argument and that the youngster was, in fact, a juvenile after reviewing the documentation attached to the petition submitted by the juvenile’s father.
The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) was also found to have violated Section 94 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, which allows the Board to assess a minor’s age after the production of certain papers.
These findings led the High Court to order an investigation into the petitioner’s charges against Dindoshi police inspector by the Additional Commissioner of Mumbai Police.
The minor was detained in August 2021 when he was 16 years old for alleged violations of the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, and Maharashtra Police Act, according to the plea.
Initially, he was brought before the JJB and requested to present his son’s age-related documentation. He was sent to a children’s observation home in the interim.
His father gave the Dindoshi police inspector, who was looking into the case, the original school leaving certificate and the Aadhar card to prove the juvenile’s age.
The father’s financial situation prevented him from paying the inspector’s Rs. 50,000 demand.
The Inspector then submitted a request for a medical evaluation to determine the juvenile’s age.
The hospital confirmed that the youngster was between the ages of 20 and 21 after the application was approved on August 26, 2021, even though the results of his ossification test weren’t yet available.
The youngster was ordered by the JJB to appear before the Metropolitan Magistrate on November 3, 2021, who remanded him to Thane Central Prison.
The juvenile’s father filed the current petition after becoming upset with the JJB and the magistrate’s orders, claiming that the police acted dishonestly because they were not paid the bribe they had demanded and, as a result, withheld the documents that would have demonstrated the petitioner’s youth.
Following careful analysis of the situation, the High Court annulled the JJB’s orders and issued the following further directives:
- Entrust the Senior Inspector of the Dindoshi police station with the case’s investigation;
- The JJB was then instructed to evaluate the materials once the Senior PI had presented them to it;
- The petitioner will be returned to the Children Observation Home as soon as this course of action is taken, according to the Superintendent of Thane Central Prison;
- The proceedings before the sessions court (after committing the matter from the Magistrate Court) be suspended.