Matriculation certificate no more enjoys primacy, the Court can determine of age of juvenile -High Court of Punjab and Haryana.

Matriculation certificate no more enjoys primacy, the Court can determine of age of juvenile -High Court of Punjab and Haryana.

Section 94 of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015 deals with “Presumption and determination of the age” and states that matriculation certificate cannot be treated as primacy under the JJ Act the power lies with the board\committee to determine the age of the accused if he is a juvenile or not. The landmark judgement passed by the single bench of HON’BLE JUSTICE RAJBIR SEHRAWAT in GAJAB SINGH V STATE OF HARYANA (CRR-767-2018) dealt with the issue mentioned above.

In this case the petitioner was accused of case under section 148, 149, 307, 506, 452 IPC and 25/54/59of the Arms Act and applied for a petition to be treated as juvenile claiming that he was below 18 years during at the time of commission and hence must be tried by the Juvenile Justice Board. He has applied for the same in Magistrate court and the application was rejected stating that his actual date of birth was of 1996 which states that he was a major during the commission of the crime aggrieved by this the petitioner moved to the additional sessions judge where the hon’ble court upheld the judgment of lower court and rejected the appeal, Petitioner then moved to the Hon’ble High Court by the way of this petition.

The learned counsel for the petitioner mentioned that mentioned that as per Rule 12 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2007, the primacy has to be given to the matriculation certificate, other documents such as date of birth can also be taken into account but only in case matric certificate is not available which is also laid down in several landmark judgements such as Siba Bisoyi v State of Odisha,(2017(4)R.C.R.(Criminal 409)).Therefore both the Courts below were faulty in not following these provisions and submitted that the petitioner should be tried as a juvenile.

The learned counsel for the state contended that Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 has superseded the earlier provisions laid down in the Rules. According to which, the matriculation certificate no more enjoys the place of primacy, while determining the age of the accused. The date of birth certificate from the school and the matriculation certificate has been put at par; so far as their evidentiary value is concerned.

The Hon’ble court analyzed the facts of the present case and the arguments of both the parties and opined that “in this particular case the petitioner has changed 4 schools before matriculation and have different date of birth in each of the school which itself shows the manipulation. It has been left to the Court to assess the age of the person brought before it. It is further submitted that sub-section (3) of Section 94 of the Act makes the age as determined by the Committee/Court/Board, as the true age of the person for the purpose of trial therefore the Rule 12 holds no power in the current case the lower courts were righteous in dismissing the appeal. Accordingly, present petition is dismissed.”

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Judgement Reviewed by Pratikshya Pattnaik

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