SC to examine another PIL on age of offenders

The Supreme Court on Friday decided to examine yet another PIL relating to the determination of a juvenile delinquent’s age, contending that the rules framed under the Juvenile Justice Act took away discretion granted to a trial judge for the purpose.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra issued notice to the Union government on the petition filed by Nisha Bagchi.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi appearing for the petitioner submitted that the rules framed under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, providing the determining factors for a juvenile, go beyond the provision, which has to be quashed. “The provision of the law provided discretion to the judge which has been taken by the rules,” he said.

The petition also challenged the methodology adopted by trail court under which the matriculation certificate is to be given first preference and second the birth certificate and at last ossification test for ascertaining the age of a juvenile. “Suppose a person is hefty and well-built, capable of committing rape and murder and does not seemingly appear to be a juvenile, but produces a matriculation certificate declaring him to be below 18, the judge is helpless,” counsel said. In that circumstances, the accused has to be given the benefit of the special law.

The bench said it would examine the issue and sought response from the government.
A number of PILs, including one by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, has been filed in the apex court.

Court stays interview of victim’s friend

The Supreme Court on Friday allowed a plea made by Delhi police seeking a stay on a High Court order granting permission to December 16 Delhi gang-rape accused to use TV interviews given by a friend of the victim in their defence. A three-judge bench presided by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir issued notice to the accused on a petition challenging the March 7 order. Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran submitted that the interviews were not admissible and the use of a CD permitted by the HC in defence of the accused should be stayed.  The court decided to seek response from the accused on the petition. It said that the use of CD under the Evidence Act is stayed. The HC had allowed a plea made by accused Ram Singh (since expired) and his brother Mukesh against the trial court’s order declining them permission to use the interview during the recording of evidence.

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