The Court however said that under Rule 12(3) of the JJ Rules, the first priority has to be given to the Matriculation or equivalent certificate and in absence of that, the date of birth certificate from the school first attended.
In the present case, the school records stated that the girl was born on 10th January 2001, the Court noted.
“Thus, even if she had attended any play school or a Madarsa at the village, the same was irrelevant, for the reason, the school first attended other than the play school was the one where the prosecutrix was admitted in the 1st standard and her date of birth was mentioned as 10th January 2001. As per the record, prosecutrix further left the school on 1st May 2013 while studying in 8th standard. Thus, she had no matriculation certificate. Therefore, as per the date of birth recorded in the school first attended, the prosecutrix was a child in terms of Section 2(1)(d) of the POCSO Act as she was below the age of 18 years,” Justice Gupta held.
The Court has said that the father’s version deserved to be ignored since those were rough estimates based on memory and that even he accepted that he cannot tell the exact difference of age between his daughters.
The Court further noted that even though the father had claimed that the child who died was his third, the prosecutrix had claimed that the dead child was the youngest son in the family who was born in Delhi.
“…this is all rough estimation based on his memory and he categorically stated that he could not tell the exact difference of age between his other daughters and the prosecutrix and the age difference between the prosecutrix and the youngest child. The testimony of this witness cannot be used to rebut the documentary evidence giving the age of the prosecutrix who got admitted in the school in the year 2001 in Delhi at the school first attended,” the bench noted.