Determination of Age under Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000

Determination of Age under Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000 Case Laws Criminal Law Criminal Revision Juvenile Knowledge - Criminal Law Lahore High Court Litigation & Arbitration Ossification Test Solutions - Criminal Law Mr. Justice Aslam Javed Minhas in his judgment has decided the issue regarding determination of age under Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000 in Criminal Revision No. 350 of 2015.

1. Through this criminal revision, order dated 21.09.2015 has been called in question whereby application filed by respondent No.2 to declare him juvenile in murder case under section 7 of the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000 before learned Addl: Sessions Judge, Muzaffargarh was dismissed.

2. Brief facts of the case are that respondents No.2 filed an application to declare him as juvenile and learned trial Court after receiving report of Medical Board rejected the same vide order dated 15.01.2013. After two years of said order, respondent No.2 again filed application under section 7 of Juvenile Justice System Ordinance for determination of re-ossification test, which was also rejected by learned trial Court vide order dated 21.07.2014, which was assailed by respondent No.2 before this Court and the same was set-aside vide order dated 04.06.2015 passed in Crl. Revision No.254/2014. That the learned trial Court despite following direction of learned trial Court, declared respondent No.2 juvenile vide order dated 25.06.2015, which was assailed by the petitioner/complainant before this Court and the same was accepted and case was remanded back vide order dated 30.07.2015 to decide afresh after determining the genuineness of documents, but learned trial Court while ignoring the evidence produced before him by the petitioner passed impugned order dated 21.09.2015 and declare the respondent No.2 as minor at the time of occurrence, hence this revision petition.

3. Learned counsel for the petitioners has argued that the impugned order passed by learned ASJ Muzaffargarh is illegal and result of misreading of record. That in Nikah Nama of the respondent No.2 with Qurat-ul-Ain dated 10.06.2015 age of respondent No.2 is 19-years whereas according to report of Medical Board dated 10.06.2015 his age is 22-24 years. That documents produced by respondent No.2 have no authenticity but the learned trial Court should have relied on medical evidence. Lastly, he prayed for setting aside order dated 21.09.2015 passed by learned trial Court.

4. On the other hand, learned counsel for the respondent No.2 with the assistance of learned DPG has opposed this petition with vehemence.

5. Arguments heard, record perused.

6. The record reveals that date of birth of the respondent No.2 Muhammad Asim is 22.12.1994. This entry of his date of birth is supported by Secondary School Certificate Examination 2009, where his date of birth is 22.12.1994. Likewise according to school leaving certificate date of birth of respondent No.2 is 22.12.1994. All these documents are prior in time than the registration of instant case, therefore, no finger can be pointed out to term the same, as fabricated or procured one in order to avail the benefits of juvenility. All documents have come from official custody and are much prior in time than the registration of case. The said documents pertains to the critical issue i.e. age of the accused, involved in the case and have direct bearing on it, therefore, there is no reason to doubt them.

If he was given benefit of one year according to report of Medical Board, his age, at the time of occurrence, was 19-years, 6-month and 23-days. If he was given benefit of two years according to report of Medical Board, his age, at the time of occurrence, was 18-years, 6-month and 23-days.

7. Contention of learned counsel for the petitioner that the respondent No.2 has not been ossified to determine his age and that no enquiry as envisaged under section 7 of the Juvenile Justice system Ordinance, 2000 has been conducted by the learned trial Court, is untenable on the ground that in view of the authentic academic record available on case file pertaining to the age face of the respondent No.2, there is no further need to go for another detailed enquiry to determine the age of the respondent No. 2. Ossification test of an accused about determination of his age would be necessary when no reliable documentary evidence is available about his age. In presence of accurate documentary evidence regarding the age of respondent No.2 hardly there will be a necessity to refer him for his ossification test etc.

8. Provision 7 of Juvenile Justice System Ordinance, 2000 reads as under:

“Determination of age – If a question arises as to whether a person before it is a child for the purposes of this Ordinance, the Juvenile Court shall record a finding after such inquiry which shall include a medical report for determination of the age of the child.”

9. Whenever a Court is confronted with question of age of an accused person, it is incumbent upon it to hold an inquiry. Presiding Officers should always feel free to requisition the original record, to summon and examine the authors custodians of such record/documents to determine genuineness of the same, to summon persons, if need be, who on account of some special knowledge could depose about age of concerned accused person and to take such other and further steps which could help the Court in reaching a just conclusion about the said matter. The issue about the age of an accused person at a trial which could result in punishment of death, is now of vital significance. Presiding Officers should never hasten to decide the said issue in a summary or in a slipshod manner.

10. The learned trial Court in detailed while passing order dated 21.09.2015 has touched upon the extract from the academic record pertaining the age of respondent No. 2. There is no illegality in the impugned order and the same has rightly been passed by learned trial Court, therefore, by upholding dated 21.09.2015 passed by learned ASJ Muzaffargarh, instant revision petition is dismissed.

Further information regarding determination of age under Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000 can be solicited from AUJ LAWYERS. Feel free to contact us in case you need any clarification and/or require legal assistance regarding similar matters.