To eliminate any doubt over the age of a domestic help accused of double murder in 2008, the Bombay High Court has asked the Juvenile Justice Board to determine his age within six weeks.
Considering the conflicting age certificates issued by two different medical officers, Justice B.R. Gavai observed, “In the interest of justice, it is necessary that the matter is re-examined by the Juvenile Justice Board.”
Till the Board decides on the age of the accused, he will continue to stay in the observation home, the court said.
Earlier, when the high court was told that the accused was a juvenile and yet lodged at a regular prison instead of a juvenile remand home, the judge rapped the police for their lethargic attitude while dealing with juvenile delinquents.
On September 15, 2008, after Rupal Parekh returned to her Santacruz home she found her 10-year-old son drowned in the bathtub and mother-in-law strangled to death, said her lawyer S.M. Marwadi.
After investigation, the police found the domestic help, a Nepalese, and four others for their alleged involvement in the murders.
Two others are still wanted in the case.
The domestic help’s first medical report said he was around 18 to 19 years of age and he was remanded to judicial custody. But a few days later, the superintendent of prisons sought another medical report, which said that he was 17 years old.
After going through the second medical report, the magistrate stayed the trial and sent him to the juvenile remand home.
Parekh then approached the high court seeking that the stay be vacated and the trial should go on, said Marwadi.
To prove his age, the accused’s lawyers Gayatri Singh and Gayatri Shahane produced his birth certificate got from Nepal that showed that he was a minor at the time of the offence.