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Court orders JJB to conduct inquiry into age of ‘juvenile’

The investigating officer in the murder case had moved an application requesting to shift the accused to an observation home.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi | Published: August 2, 2014 1:53:53 am

A Delhi court allowed a revision petition against an order passed by a trial court, where the accused was treated as a minor without an inquiry being held into his actual age under provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act. The court directed the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) to conduct an inquiry into the age of the accused, who is facing murder charges.

The court directed the JJB to hold an inquiry after it found that the metropolitan magistrate (MM) had passed an order without compliance under Section 7-A (1). “It has to be kept in mind that in case of claim of juvenility, raised either before a court or before the JJB, an inquiry into his/her age is conducted. There cannot be any case wherein a person would be declared juvenile without any inquiry,” Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala said.

The accused and seven others had reportedly stabbed a man to death in East Delhi.

Before filing the chargesheet, the investigating officer had moved an application before the MM, Karkardooma court, requesting to shift the accused to an observation home. The SHO stated that the date of birth of the accused was November 12, 1996 and that he was 16 years and 10 months old at the time of commission of offence.

The magistrate, without any “perusal of any record” and “without issuing any direction requesting supporting documents of the correct age proof of the accused”, passed an order in October 2013 declaring the accused a juvenile and shifted him to an observation home, the court said.

The court said, “If for any reason the MM came to a prima facie view that the person brought before her was a juvenile, she was duty bound to record her opinion and forward the person, along with the records of the proceedings, to the JJB. The JJB would have then held the inquiry into the age of the accused.”

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