The Delhi High Court has set side an Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) order declaring a rape accused a juvenile on the date of commission of the offence in 2011, saying the trial judge had given preference to the civic body’s birth certificate over the date mentioned in the attendance register of the school the accused had first attended in violation of the established precedence.

Despite an officer of the school certifying the date of birth mentioned in the attendance register, the lower court judge gave preference to the birth certificate issued by the Registrar (Birth and Death) of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and declared the accused a juvenile.

The judge subsequently sent the case to the Juvenile Justice Board for inquiry and trial. On completion of the trial, the Board acquitted the accused of the rape charge. The Court set aside the ASJ’s order on an appeal by the victim. The charge against the accused was that he had sexual intercourse with the victim after making a false promise to marry her. The victim also alleged that the accused had indulged in a carnal intercourse with her against the order of nature.

While setting aide the ASJ’s order, Justice G.P. Mittal directed that the juvenility of the accused be decided as per Rule 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2007, as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

According to the Rule, first preference will be given to the matriculation certificate or its equivalents; if it is not available, then the date of birth as mentioned in the attendance register of the school first attended; if neither of them is produced, then the birth certificate issued by the municipal body or the panchayat;, and finally it will be determined by a medical board if none of the three documents are available.

“In this view of the matter, the order dated October 25, 2012, passed by the learned ASJ cannot be sustained. The same is accordingly set aside and the case is remanded back to the learned ASJ with the direction to decide the question in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court…,’’ Justice Mittal said.

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