In the recent case of Vikas Ramji Yadav v. State of Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court ordered an investigation into the father’s claims that his minor son was being tried as an adult by the Mumbai police in a murder case.
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 found to have violated Section 94 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, which stipulates that the Board may ascertain a minor’s age upon the provision of documentation. In relation to the charges made by the petitioner against Dindoshi police inspector, the High Court ordered the Additional Commissioner of Mumbai Police to launch an investigation.
The appeal noted that the minor had been detained in August 2021 when he was 16 years old for alleged violations of the Maharashtra Police Act, Arms Act, and Indian Penal Code. 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.
The juvenile’s father gave the Dindoshi police inspector, who was looking into the case, the original of the school leaving certificate and the Aadhar card to prove the juvenile’s date of birth.
Due to his difficult financial situation, the inspector sought 50,000, which the father was unable to pay. The inspector then requested that a medical examination be conducted to determine the juvenile’s age.
Even though the results of the boy’s ossification test were still waiting when the application was approved on August 26, 2021, the hospital certified that the boy was between the ages of 20 and 21.
The minor 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 the superintendent of Thane Central Prison;
- The proceedings before the sessions court (after committing the matter from the Magistrate Court) stayed.