crime, law and justice
judiciary (system of justice)
The Supreme Court has held that in determining the age of an accused to find out whether he is a juvenile or not, a hyper-technical approach should not be adopted by the trial courts. Instead, they should treat the date of birth in the School Leaving Certificate as valid proof, a Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and B.S. Chauhan said.
“If two views may be possible on the same evidence, the court should lean in favour of holding the accused to be juvenile in borderline cases,” the Bench said.
Writing the judgment, Justice Sathasivam pointed that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules specifically says: “The matriculation or equivalent certificates, if available; and in the absence whereof, the date of birth certificate from the school first attended and in the absence whereof, the birth certificate given by a corporation or a municipal authority or a panchayat.”
In the instant case, appellant Shah Nawaz
of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh was arraigned as an accused in a murder case on June 4, 2007. His mother submitted an application before the Juvenile Justice Board that her son had not attained the age of 18 on the date of commission of the alleged offence and the Board declared him a juvenile. However on appeal from the victim's wife, the sessions court reversed the Board's order and this was confirmed by the Allahabad High Court. The present appeal is directed against the High Court order.
Allowing the appeal, the Bench said: “We are satisfied that the entry relating to date of birth in the mark sheet is valid proof for determination of age of an accused. The school leaving certificate is also a valid proof in determining the age. Accordingly, the appellant was a juvenile on the date of occurrence on June 4, 2007 as alleged in the FIR.” While setting aside the trial court's order, the Bench declared the appellant to be a juvenile.