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Juvenile Justice Act, 2015: Matriculation Certificate Has No Precedence Over DoB Certificate From School To Determine Juvenility: SC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
28 July 2019 9:45 AM GMT
Juvenile Justice Act, 2015: Matriculation Certificate Has No Precedence Over DoB Certificate From School To Determine Juvenility: SC [Read Judgment]
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"Section 94(2)(a)(i) indicates a significant change over the provisions which were contained in Rule 12(3)(a) of the Rules of 2007 made under the Act of 2000."

The Supreme Court has observed that under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, for determining 'juvenility', the matriculation or equivalent certificate from the concerned examination board has no precedence over the date of birth certificate from the school.The bench comprising Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and Justice Indira Banerjee noted that the Clause (i)...

The Supreme Court has observed that under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, for determining 'juvenility', the matriculation or equivalent certificate from the concerned examination board has no precedence over the date of birth certificate from the school.

The bench comprising Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and Justice Indira Banerjee noted that the Clause (i) of Section 94 (2) of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, places the date of birth certificate from the school and the matriculation or equivalent certificate from the concerned examination board in the same category. In the absence thereof category (ii) provides for obtaining the birth certificate of the corporation, municipal authority or panchayat. It is only in the absence of (i) and (ii) that age determination by means of medical analysis is provided. The Court, in Sanjeev Kumar Gupta vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, said:

"Section 94(2)(a)(i) indicates a significant change over the provisions which were contained in Rule 12(3)(a) of the Rules of 2007 made under the Act of 2000. Under Rule 12(3)(a)(i) the matriculation or equivalent certificate was given precedence and it was only in the event of the certificate not being available that the date of birth certificate from the school first attended, could be obtained. In Section 94(2)(i) both the date of birth certificate from the school as well as the matriculation or equivalent certificate are placed in the same category."

In this case, the accused had claimed that he was juvenile on the basis of the matriculation certificate. The High Court accepted the claim.

In the appeal, the bench observed that date of birth which was forwarded in the roll of students of Maa Anjani Senior Secondary School, Shikohabad was the sole basis of the date of birth which was recorded in the matriculation certificate and also that the date of birth in the records of Maa Anjani Senior Secondary School where the second respondent was a student from Class V to Class X is without any underlying document. Thus, the court held that, date of birth in the CBSE Certificate cannot be accepted as authentic or credible.

The court further observed that the date of birth which has been recorded in the records of Saket Vidya Sthali School, where the accused studied till 4th Standard, is supported by the voluntary disclosure made by him while obtaining both the Aadhaar card and the driving licence.

It was contended before the bench that though the incident in the present case is alleged to have taken place on 18 August 2015 and the application claiming the benefit of juvenility was submitted on 9 December 2015, the application should be governed by the provisions of Section 94 and not by Section 12(3) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules 2007. But the bench did not address the said contention and proceeded to analyse the facts on the basis of the provisions of Rule 12(3) of the Rules of 2007. Whether the case is approached from the stand point of Rule 12(3) of the Rules of 2007 or Section 94(2) of the 2015 Act does not ultimately make any difference to the conclusion, the bench said. 

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