The Delhi High Court has upheld the acquittal of a man in sexual assault case saying that the Trial Court rightly relied upon the Aadhaar Card to ascertain the age of victim under Section 94 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (in short ‘JJ Act’).

The Court was deciding a revision petition filed by the State under Section 401 of the CrPC against the order passed by the Trial Court.

A Single Bench of Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain observed, “The perusal of impugned order dated 29.7.2016 reflects that the Trial Court had rightly observed that the date of birth of the prosecutrix as appearing in the school record was not based on birth certificate issued by MCD or any other statutory authority and in the absence of these documents, the Trial Court has rightly relied upon the Aadhaar card to ascertain the age of prosecutrix as per mandate of section 94 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which reflects the date of birth of the prosecutrix as 01.01.1994.”

The Bench said that the victim was not subjected to the ossification test to determine her approximate age.

APP Utkarsh appeared for the petitioner/State while Advocate Sunita Arora appeared for the respondent/accused.

In this case, a charge sheet as per the mandate of Section 173 CrPC was filed after conclusion of investigation arising out of FIR registered under Sections 363/366/366A/376 IPC and under Section 4/6 POCSO Act, 2012 based on a complaint made by the mother of victim. The complainant stated that her daughter aged about 16 years was found to be missing and left the house without informing any other person. The complainant suspected the respondent as the person who took the victim away.

Thereafter, FIR under section 363 IPC was registered and during investigation, it was revealed that the victim got married with the respondent and had also refused to undergo medical examination. Her statement was also recorded under Section 164 CrPC whereby she stated that she had left with the respondent out of her own free will and after getting married with the respondent, she established relation with him. She also stated her year of the birth as 1994 and was aged about 21 years. The Trial Court, therefore, discharged the respondent from the said offences.

The High Court after hearing the arguments of both parties noted, “In the present case, the Investigating Officer did not collect any birth certificate from the school of the prosecutrix or birth certificate issued by MCD or any other statutory authority or panchayat. The coordinate Bench of this Court in State NCT of Delhi V Umesh, 2015 SCC OnLine Del 10596, also referred the Aadhaar card to determine the age of the prosecutrix.”

The Court concluded that the challenged order of the Trial Court does not call for any interference.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the petition and upheld the acquittal of the accused.

Cause Title- State (GNCT of Delhi) v. Rohit Kumar (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:6518)

Click here to read/download the Judgment