Read Order: State of Haryana v. Virender Singh @ Golu

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, June 3,2022: While dealing with a revision petition wherein the State of Haryana challenged the order of the Additional Sessions Judge, Kurukshetra declaring the accused to be a juvenile at the time of occurrence of crime, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has upheld the impugned order, after taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, the evidence adduced along with the report of the Radiologist opining the age of the respondent-accused as 17 years on the date of occurrence.

Before the Bench of Justice Rajesh Bhardwaj, the State of Haryana filed the present revision petition impugning the order whereby the respondent-accused was declared Juvenile. 

As per the facts of the case, the respondent-accused was prosecuted in respect of an FIR registered against him under Sections 376, 365, 452, 366-A IPC. During the pendency of the case, he filed an application for declaring him a Juvenile on the ground that his date of birth was April 2, 1994, as per the birth certificate issued by the Registrar, Births and Deaths, Kurukshetra and that his age was 17 years 4 months. 

However, vide the order of the SDM, Pehowa, the prosecution/Superintendent of District Jail, Kurukshetra was directed to get the ossification test of the accused conducted to determine his age. After the test, as per the report of the Radiologist, the age of the accused was determined to be 17 years. It was contended by the accused that in the certificate issued on April 18, 2011, the name of the parents of the accused was not found mentioned.

He contended that the certificate relied upon by the prosecution wherein the date of birth was mentioned as October 25, 1993, belonged to the elder brother of Virender Singh @ Golu, who died after his birth. 

In the reply filed to the application by the respondent-State, it was contended that the birth certificate issued by the Registrar, Births and Deaths depicted his date of birth as October  25, 1993. It was further contended that the accused submitted the file for preparation of his passport in the office of the Regional Transport Officer, Chandigarh and the date of birth shown in the passport was October  25, 1993. 

During the course of the trial, the applicant-accused examined his mother besides producing the documentary evidence, while the prosecution examined oral as well as documentary evidence. 

After hearing both sides, the Addl. Sessions Judge, Kurukshetra allowed the application filed by the applicant-accused and accepted his date of birth as April 2, 1994, and thus he was found to be juvenile on the date of occurrence. The petitioner-State of Haryana was aggrieved by the impugned order and thus filed the present revision petition.

It was the case of the State Counsel that the prosecution duly inquired the date of birth of the respondent-accused and the certificate issued by the Registrar, Births and Deaths, wherein the date of birth of the respondent-accused was found to be October 25, 1993. The respondent also applied for the issuance of a passport wherein again his date of birth was found to be October 25, 1993. 

It was further the case of the State counsel that the Addl. Sessions Judge, Kurukshetra failed to appreciate the same and wrongly relied upon the ossification test conducted on the respondent-accused. He submitted that once the certificate was issued by the Registrar, Births and Deaths, the report of the ossification test could not have been relied upon and that in view of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, the certificate issued by the Registrar, Births and Deaths was to be taken into consideration and thus the ossification test had no legal sanctity. 

After considering the rival submissions, the Court has observed that during the course of the trial it was found that the prosecution did not even put a suggestion during the cross-examination of the mother of the accused that her son, who took birth on October 25, 1993, had died or not and it was not the respondent-accused who took birth on October 25, 1993.

Further, the Court observed that there was no inquiry even regarding the fact of the date of birth entered in the passport as October 25, 1993. Besides this, the Court noted that the report of the Radiologist opining the age of the respondent-accused as 17 years further strengthened the stand taken by the respondent that he was less than 18 years of age on the date of occurrence.

In the facts and circumstances of the case and the evidence produced on record, the Court finds no infirmity in the conclusion arrived at by the Addl. Sessions Judge, Kurukshetra and thus upheld the view taken by virtue of the impugned order accepting the respondent-accused to be a juvenile. 

Resultantly, the petition was dismissed. 

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