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Learning License  should be taken into account while determining the age of a juvenile : Allahabad HC

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Referring to Section 94(2) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, the Allahabad High Court recently quashed a lower court’s order whereby a rape accused’s application for declaring him to be juvenile had been rejected, relying upon his Driving Learning License and Voter I.D. Card.

The bench of Justice Rahul Chaturvedi noted, “Seems that the learned Special Judge, POCSO Act has grossly erred in law while relying upon the Learning License of the revisionist and Voter I.D. Card, because none of these documents should be taken into account while determining the age of a juvenile.”

“When in the High School Certificate the age of the revisionist is mentioned, which is available before the learned Special Judge, POCSO Act, he has to determine the age of the revisionist after taking into account the High School Certificate alone, but he has not done so and has wrongly rejected the claim of juvenility relying upon the documents which are not categorized in the Act of 2015,” Court held.

A case was registered in the year 2017 against one Naushad Ali under Sections 363, 366, 376, 120B, 420 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Relying upon Ali’s Learner’s Licence and Voter ID, the POCSO Special judge had rejected the application moved by Ali’s mother on his behalf and held that Ali was a major as his date of incident birth is April 7, 1994.

However, before the high court, Ali’s counsel, referring to Section 94 of the JJ Act, 2015 submitted that Ali passed the High School Examination, 2015 from the Board of High School and Intermediate Education U.P., and in the certificate his date of birth is mentioned as March 4, 2001.

He argued that the Special Judge while determining Ali’s age had not taken into account either of the documents as enumerated in Section 94(2) of the Act and declined to declare him (revisionist) juvenile.

Considering the submissions, Court quashed the challenged order and remanded back the matter to the Special Judge, POCSO Act/Additional Sessions Judge, Court No.3, Bulandshahar with a direction to re-consider and re-visit the entire matter once again and decide the matter afresh, after taking into account the High School Certificate of the revisionist and authenticating and evaluating its genuineness.

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