FACTS- The petitioner herein was arraigned as an accused for the offence of murder committed on 10th September, 1982. The petitioner along with three co-accused was convicted by the trial Court for the offence punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life. The convicts including the petitioner herein preferred Criminal Appeal. The said appeal came to be rejected vide judgment dated 4th March, 2016 and the conviction of the petitioner and the sentence awarded to him by the trial Court were affirmed. The petitioner preferred Special Leave Petition which was also dismissed. The High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, while considering a PIL bearing Crl.(PIL) Misc. W.P. No. 855 of 2012, vide order dated 24th May, 2012 directed the Juvenile Justice Board(s) (hereinafter being referred to as the ‘Board’) in the State of Uttar Pradesh to hold enquiries for determination of age of the convicts who were languishing in jail wherein the possibility was felt that the convict might have been a juvenile at the time of incident. Pursuant to the said order of the High Court, the petitioner herein who was at the relevant point of time lodged in District Jail, Mathura was subjected to examination by a Medical Board on 10th December, 2021.

The Medical Board conducted X-rays of the skull and sternum of the petitioner and gave an opinion that on the date of the report, the petitioner herein was around 56 years of age. Based on the said report of the Medical Board, the petitioner has preferred the instant writ petition claiming that he was around 15 years of age on the date of the incident i.e. 10th September, 1982.

ISSUE- It was regarding the Ossification Test to determine the age.

OBSERVATION- The Supreme Court, observed that to determine age, ossification test stands last in the order of priorities. Pertinently, Section 94(2) of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015 provides for the mode of determination of age. As per this provision, priority should be given to the date of birth certificate. In the absence of this, the birth certificate given by a corporation shall be preferred. Only in the absence of both categories can an ossification test determine age. While making this observation, the Court also affirmed the Medical Board's opinion that age estimation based on X-ray examination becomes uncertain after 25 years. Further, the inquiry conducted by the Sessions' judge observed that, according to the contemporaneous evidence (School records), the petitioner was major on the date of the incident.

The petitioner's counsel fervently denied the inquiry report when the matter was taken up before the Top Court. The Counsel pressed that the medical examination (conducted at first instance) was correct. It was further contended that the school record was not reliable and the first medical report should be given precedence.

However, these arguments did not find favor with the Court. After perusing the relevant documents, the Court agreed with the inquiry report as well as with the medical board's opinion. The report scrutinized the admission register and transfer certificate to come to its conclusion. On the basis of aforesaid facts the Court dismissed the petitioner's plea.