The judgment delivered by the Honourable Supreme Court of India deals with the question of acceptance of medical report vis-a-vis the main purpose behind the legislation of Juvenile Justice Act. It is noteworthy how the Supreme Court has given importance to the purpose of the legislation as against the dictionary meaning of the words used in it.
Mukkarab, ETC. V/s. State of Uttar Pradesh
Criminal Appeal Nos. 1119-1120 of 2016
In the Supreme Court of India
Bench: R. Banumathi and A.K. Sikri, JJ.
Delivered on: 30th November 2016
Advocates for appellants: Mr. Shakeel Ahmed, Adv.
Advocates for respondent: Mr. Abhishek Chaudhary, Adv., Mr. Pawanshree Agrawal, Adv., Mr. Dinesh Kumar Garg, Adv.
Brief Facts: On 22.03.1994, six of the accused had a quarrel with the deceased when he was returning to his home from the market at around 5:30 PM. The accused abused the deceased on the pretext that he was causing obstruction in the Mangal Bazaar. Deceased was attacked by guns and knives and was subsequently killed.
All the accused were charge-sheeted under section 147, 148, 149 & 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1960.
Trial Court- the court tried all of them under section 302 read with section 148 & 149 of Indian Penal Code. The accused were sentenced imprisonment for life under section 302 & rigorous imprisonment for 2 years under section 148 was imposed.
High Court-The High Court at Allahabad dismissed the appeals affirming the conviction under section 302 read with section 149 & 148 of Indian Penal Code.
On 27.05.2014, this order of High Court was challenged by filing a special leave petition. The appeals of 4 people were dismissed at the admission stage itself. While the other 2 people claimed to be juvenile and thus they were examined under section 7A of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of children) Act, 2000. The Supreme Court vide order dated on 12.09.2014 ordered the trial court to make an examination on the juvenility of the appellants and submit a report. In the report submitted by the court, it was held that the appellants were not juvenile on the date of the incident. This, however, questioned the genuineness of the report and thus the Supreme Court had ordered to carry out ossification test in order to determine the age of the appellants. The test declared that on date 05.05.2016, the age of both the accused ranged between 35-40 years.
- Whether the present appellants were juvenile?
- Whether medical opinion in the age determination is admissible and reliable?
Arguments on behalf of the appellant:
- General rule about age determination is that the age determined by the medical board vary plus or minus two years
- Considering the report and rule 12(3)(b) of Juvenile Justice Rules, 2007, the age of the appellants at the time of the occurrence of incidents was 15 years and thus they fall under the benefits of the act.
Arguments on behalf of state:
- Ossification test is not the sole criteria for determining the age and other cogent evidence should also be taken into consideration.
Held: The court did not accept the medical report and held that, in facts and circumstances, medical report cannot give the accused shelter under Juvenile Justice Act.