Supreme Court strikes down ossification test at 55

FPJ BureauUpdated: Saturday, February 27, 2021, 02:12 AM IST
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Supreme Court of India | File Photo

New Delhi

An ossification test conducted on an accused at the age of 55 cannot be used to declare him a juvenile on the date of crime in the absence of reliable medical evidence, the SC held on Friday.

A bench of Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, Hemant Gupta and BR Gavai expressed surprise at the ossification tests to determine the age of the person on the date of incident since such tests cannot yield trustworthy and reliable results.

It said such a test can be relevant to determine the approximate age of a person when he is around 18 years of age, but not when the person is around 40-55 years of age since the structure of bones cannot be helpful in determining the age.

"Therefore, in the absence of any reliable, trustworthy medical evidence to find out the age of the appellant, the ossification test conducted in the year 2020 when the appellant was 55 years of age cannot be conclusive to declare him as a juvenile or not on the date of the incident," the judgment said.

It came on an appeal by a murder convict, challenging the April 2020 Allahabad HC verdict upholding his conviction. Ram Vijay Singh filed a plea before SC that he was a juvenile on the date of the crime on July 20, 1982.

SC notice on census of backward castes

The SC issued notice to the Centre, the Ministry of Social Justice and the National Commission for Backward Classes on a PIL by 2 Telangana citizens, seeing a caste-wise census of the backward classes.

After a brief hearing, a Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde issued notice and tagged the matter for a hearing on April 16, along with a similar petition by Tinku Saini, in which the same bench had issued notice on October 17, 2020.

The petitioners, G Mallesh Yadav and Alla Ramakrishna, have argued there is a crystal clear provision in the Constitution under Articles 15 (4&5) and 16 (4&5) for providing reservation to the backward classes/castes in education and employment.

"Under Article 243-D(6) of the Constitution, there are provisions for providing seats to backward classes in the local body. In the absence of a caste-wise census, how can the percentage of reservation of backward classes be decided," the plea said.

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