Delhi rape accused is still a minor: Principal

New Delhi: The principal of the school attended by the juvenile accused in the December 16, 2012 Delhi gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedic student on Tuesday submitted before a Juvenile Justice Board that as per the school records the accused is 17 years and six months old.
The present and former principals of the school in Bhawanipur, at Badaun, UP, where the juvenile had studied till Class III, appeared before the board presided over by principal magistrate Geetanjali Goel and told her that they cannot identify the boy but know he was admitted in the school in 2002.
The school principal submitted that as per the records, he is 17 years, six months and 11 days old. The minor suspect was not produced before the board. The magistrate did not allow reporters to observe the 20-minute proceedings.
The former principal said that the boy’s father had come to admit him and mentioned his date of birth as June 4, 1995. He told the court that they never asked the parents to  give the child’s birth certificate at the time of admission. “We take this as the official record and later on follow the same throughout the academic session, so it could not be doubted,” the principal said.
Taking note of the submissions of both teachers, the court fixed January 28 as the next date of hearing. The principals appeared before the board as they were asked to be personally present with all the documents pertaining to the accused’s age after the police had raised doubts over his school certificates.
The counsel for the juvenile, advocate Rajesh Tiwari, however, said outside the court that on the next date of hearing the board will hear arguments to decide the age of the juvenile and will thereafter give its verdict on whether he is a major or minor.
While the juvenile is at present lodged in the juvenile home, the other five adult co-accused are lodged in Tihar jail and are being prosecuted in Saket district court.According to the police, the minor has confessed during questioning before the child welfare committee and the investigative officer of the case that he had done “wrong” and was “sorry”. 

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