[dropcap]I[/dropcap]N a habeas corpus petition filed by the relative of a Public Safety Act (PSA) detenu in Kashmir Valley, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey of Srinagar wing of Jammu and Kashmir High Court on September 25 ordered an enquiry by the Registrar (Judicial) to determine the age of the detainee, Umer Bashir Naikooon.
The enquiry has to be completed within 10 days, directed the High Court.
This order came after an application was moved by a relative of the detenu, seeking a direction for shifting of detenu to Juvenile Observation Home, claiming the benefit of juvenility on the strength of age as recorded March 16, 2005, in the Maktabia Islamia High School, Shopian Kashmir.
The High Court noted, “when this matter was taken up on motion hearing on 28th August 2019, the Court while registering the claim made in the petition asked the State counsel Mr B.A Dar, Sr. AAG to file a response by or before 4th Sept. 2 2019. Response stands filed by District Magistrate, Shopian, indicating therein that the detenu was admitted in the School on 01.03.2012 vide admission no. 823 in class 3rd and at the time of admission no certificate of birth was produced by the parents of applicant-detenu nor the school administration bothered to procure/demand the same from the concerned offices viz Chowkidar, Municipality or Hospital”.
“However, the brother of the detenu furnished an affidavit mentioning the date of birth of the applicant-detenu as 16.03.2005, and school administration has already issued the certificate to this extent. The District Magistrate’s response further indicates that many mutilations were noticed in the recorded Date of Birth of many candidates from the Admission Registrar of the School”, the High Court noted.
The High Court, therefore, observed since the claim of Juvenility has been raised in terms of Section 8 of the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013, an enquiry is required to be made to determine the age of applicant-detenu as on the date of the detention. It also observed “the certificate produced in this application in proof of the date of birth of the applicant detenu is neither the original document nor attested by any person, much less an authorized person, therefore, cannot be taken as conclusively establishing the date of birth of the applicant-detenu”.
Next date of hearing in this matter is October 14, 2019.
In another related case, the Srinagar wing of Jammu and Kashmir High Court on September 24 asked the State of Jammu and Kashmir to file a counter-affidavit addressing the claim made by a petitioner that petitioner-detenu is a minor, and therefore, is required to be treated as a juvenile.
A single bench presided by Justice Sanjiv Kumar observed, “the petitioner has already placed on record the marks card which indicates the date of birth of the detenu as March 15, 2003”.
Justice Kumar asked District Magistrate concerned to look into this aspect specifically and revert to the court on the next date of hearing, October 1.
The detention order was passed under the PSA, 1978. Section 8 of the PSA, 1978 as amended in 2012 prohibits the detention of a person who has not attained the age of 18 years.
Notably, the apex court on September 20 had asked the Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s Juvenile Justice Committee to inquire into allegations of illegal detention of children by security forces in J&K post abrogation of the Article 370 of the Constitution.