In cases where an accused does not have a birth certificate and there are inconsistencies or irregularities in other documents, a medical report will be used to determine whether the accused can be tried as a minor. The judgement passed in the case of Khalid Hussain v Union Territory of J&K [CrlM No: 1687/2020] on 3rd June 2021 by a single-member bench consisting of Justice Sindhu Sharma of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court addressed this issue.
The petitioner Khalid Hussain filed an appeal against a previous order by an Additional Sessions Judge in Jammu which upheld Juvenile Justice Board, Jammu’s decision to declare the petitioner as a major for his trial in an alleged offence. As per the Juvenile Justice Board, Jammu, the petitioner was arrested on 13th November 2018 along with an Aadhaar card showing his birth date as 20th October 2021, however upon enquiring into his school records, his date of birth was shown as 31st December 2001. A medical examination was initiated to determine his age and a medical board comprising of a Radiologist, Physiologist, a Dental Examiner, a Forensic Expert and Chairperson found the petitioner to have been a major at the time of committing the alleged offence. The petitioner contended in his petition that the date of birth recorded by his school was wrongly rejected without any reason as it
The Court referred to Section 74 of the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and upheld the view of the Additional Sessions Judge that “the birth certificate issued by Municipal Committee or Corporation is to be considered for determining the age of Juvenile and in case same is not available them Matriculation Diploma/certificate containing the date of birth, issued by the Board of School Education is to be relied upon and in case there is contradiction regarding entry of date of birth in school or Board record to in case State disputed the date of birth reflected in the Matriculation certificate, then the additional evidence by way of constitution of Medical Board as provided by Rule 75 of the Rules 2014 to determine the age of Juvenile is required to be gathered”.
Considering the absence of a birth certificate and a contradiction between the date of birth on the petitioner’s Aadhaar card and school records, the court ruled that the medical report would be considered to determine the age of the petitioner and that he would therefore be tried as a major for his alleged offence. Justice Sindhu Sharma can be quoted as saying “The Trial Court is directed to proceed ahead with the case expeditiously in view of the clear finding that the accused-Khalid Hussain was more than 18 years of age on the date of commission of offence.”