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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Court prefers school age certificate over bone test

Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 11, 2013
First Published: 23:49 IST(11/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:32 IST(12/2/2013)

The Delhi high court has ruled that the age certificate issued by a school will get preference over the ossification (bone) test results in determining the age of an accused in a criminal case.

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Though the ruling came in a different case, it is set to have an impact on the Delhi gang rape case. The Juvenile Justice Board has declared one of the accused as a juvenile, accepting his date of birth mentioned in the school records.

The ruling virtually shuts the door on attempts by the police and the family of the victim to get the age of the juvenile accused, the most brutal of those who fatally attacked the paramedic student on a moving bus, re-determined through other means, including a fresh bone test.

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“The ossification test to determine the age cannot be looked into at all once the date of birth in the school first attended is available,” Justice G P Mittal said, declaring a convict as a juvenile after upholding the age certificate issued by his school.

The judge said section 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act clearly mentioned it and there was no scope for confusion.

The convict in this case had challenged the May 18, 2012 order of a sessions’ judge, rejecting his plea that he was juvenile. The sessions’ judge had upheld the result of the bone test that showed that he was 21 years when he committed the crime five years ago.

The high court concluded that he was only 14 years old when he committed the crime.

“The learned ASJ fell into error in giving preference to the ossification test against the date of birth certificate,” Justice Mittal said.

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