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Upasana Mukherjee, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 16, 2013
The juvenile accused in the Delhi gangrape case is six months shy of achieving adulthood, as per the testimony of his former school headmaster.
The headmaster told the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) on Tuesday that as per the school records he was 17-and-a-half years old. The JJB is conducting an age-enquiry to ascertain if the accused — one of the six who gangraped a 23-year-old woman on December 16 — was a minor.

The board recorded the statements of the present headmaster of the school as well as a former headmaster of the school in Bhawanipur at Badaun in Uttar Pradesh. The juvenile accused is said to have studied there till class three .

The headmasters said they could not identify the boy but knew that he had taken admission in the school in 2002.

The former headmaster said during the time of admission, the boy’s father had come to the school and mentioned his date of birth as June 4, 1995. The school never asked his parents to give the child’s birth certificate as age proof.

“We take this as the official record and later on follow the same throughout the academic session, so it could not be doubted,” the former headmaster said.

The JJB, headed by principal magistrate Geetanjali, has fixed January 28 for further hearing, legal aid counsel for the juvenile Rajesh Tiwari told reporters.

As the age-enquiry of the sixth accused is under way, the police’s plea for a medical age determination of the accused remains pending before the JJB.

The Delhi police had filed a chargesheet on January 3 before a city court against the five accused -- Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.

They had been charged with kidnapping, gang rape, unnatural sex, murder, attempt to murder, dacoity, wrongful confinement and criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence under the Indian Penal Code. 

Section 2(1) of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, defines a juvenile as any child who has not yet completed 18 years of age.

Chorus for a stricter punishment to the juvenile accused is getting louder, as according to the police he was the most brutal while committing the dastardly act. It was he made the couple board the bus and raped the victim twice — once after she fell unconscious.