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Trial Court was not having power to determine the age of the applicant and this power is vested only with the JJ Board constituted under the Act of 2015: HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH AT INDORE

This petition is allowed. The impugned order dated 28.05.2021 is hereby set aside by HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH AT INDORE in the case of SHRIRAM RAWAT V. THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH through HON’BLE JUSTICE SATYENDRA KUMAR SINGH

FACTS OF THE CASE
The facts of the case are that the applicant along with other co-accused persons is facing criminal trial in S.S.T. No. 42/2020 for the offences punishable u/S 8C/15 of NDPS Act. After filing of chargesheet till framing of charges, applicant was not represented by any one and on 17.05.2020, his counsel filed vakalatnama and found applicant’s age below 18 years. Hence, on 18.05.2020, counsel for the applicant moved an application u/S 94 of the Act of 2015 by which prayer is made for referring the matter to Juvenile Justice Board for determination of his age as well as for his trial. Learned trial Court vide order dated …. directed the respondent to verify the documents filed by the applicant in support of his aforesaid application and after receiving the verification report, vide order dated 28.05.2021 rejected applicant’s application on the ground that school scholar register entry with regard to date of birth of the applicant is doubtful and secondly, as per date of birth entry of his Aadhar Card, his date of birth is 24.03.2000 and as per the said date of birth, applicant was major at the time of incident.

JUDGEMENT
In this case, application claiming juvenility was filed before the Court, therefore, this matter falls under the category of 32(iia) and (iib) i.e., sub clause 2 and 3 of Section 94 of the Act of 2015 would be applied. Applicant in support of his juvenility produced school scholar register entry. Therefore, it can be said that he has discharged the initial burden, although the said presumption is however not conclusive proof of age of his juvenility and the same may be rebutted. But on the basis of documents produced by the applicant, presumption of juvenility may be applied in the matter. Trial Court was not having power to determine the age of the applicant and this power is vested only with the JJ Board constituted under the Act of 2015. Therefore, it is apparent that the impugned order was not passed following the provisions of the Act, of 2015. Hence, the same is liable to be set aside. In view of the above, petition is allowed. The impugned order dated 28.05.2021 is hereby set aside. The matter is remanded back to the trial Court for consideration of application filed by the applicant u/S 94 of the Act of 2015 afresh and pass appropriate order as per the provision of Section 94 of the Act of 2015 in accordance with law.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY SHREYA NIDHI

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