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MATRICULATION CERTIFICATE IS NOT THE SOLE CRITERIA TO LABEL A PERSON AS JUVENILE, AS THE 2015 ACT HAD OVERSHADOWED THE 2007 RULES: PUNJABA AND HARYANA HIGH COURT

This particular decision is upheld by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana  through the division bench of Justice Rajbir Sehrawat in the case of Gajab Singh and The State of Haryana (CRR-767-2018)

FACTS

In this case, the petitioner was charged for a number of offences in the IPC, including attempt to murder, house trespass etc. He took a plea of being a juvenile and therefore to be tried in a Juvenile Court. He presented his matriculation certificate along with other documents, but they had different date of births. The counsel for the petitioner stressed on the primacy of matriculation certificate being the document to be used for identifying a person as juvenile, as laid down in 2007 Juvenile Justice Rules. But the opposing counsel argued that the 2007 Rules have been overruled by the 2015 Juvenile Justice Act.

JUDGEMENT

Although learned counsel for the petitioner has also submitted that in the other trial, the petitioner is being tried as a juvenile, however, nothing has come on record of this case to show that in that case his age was determined by the Board/Court by following the procedure of inquiry as prescribed under the Act. In fact, in that case, the prosecution itself had
taken the petitioner as a juvenile. It is even admitted that no inquiry was
held. No evidence was led in that case to find out the actual age of the petitioner. Hence, the fact that the petitioner is being tried as a juvenile in
another case, cannot be taken as a relevant factor for the determination of the age of the petitioner in the present case.

The Court held that the matriculation certificate is not the sole criteria to label a person as juvenile, as the 2015 Act had overshadowed the 2007 Rules. Further, since in this case, the additional information was available, which showed that the person had given different date of births in different certificates, it would also be considered. The Court could take a view on the age of a person by his looks in some cases.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NAISARGIKA MISHRA

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