New Delhi, Sep 11 (SocialNews.XYZ) The Delhi High Court has upheld a lower court's order that discharged a man of charges of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a girl.
Justice Sudhir Kumar Jain's decision was based on the girl's Aadhaar card, which indicated that she was of legal age at the time of the alleged crime.
The high court agreed with the trial court's judgement from July 2016, which had noted that the girl's school records did not have a birth certificate issued by the municipal corporation or any other statutory authority to verify her age.
The court ruled that in the absence of these documents, the Aadhaar card was a valid reference to ascertain the girl's age, as mandated by Section 94 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
The Aadhaar card showed her date of birth as January 1, 1994. Notably, the girl was not subjected to an ossification test to approximate her age.
During her statement before a magistrate, the girl had also stated that she had willingly gone with the man and, after marrying him, engaged in a physical relationship. She asserted that her year of birth was 1994, making her approximately 21 years old then.
However, the state had challenged the trial court's acquittal order, arguing that documents from the girl's school indicated that she was a minor during the alleged offense.
The judge stated that the trial court's order discharging the man under the provisions of the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and IPC was justified and required no interference.
In this case, the girl's mother had filed a police complaint, claiming that her 16-year-old daughter had gone missing.
However, the girl's Aadhaar card indicated that she was 21 years old at the time of the alleged incident in September 2015.
In defense, the man's counsel argued that the trial court had appropriately relied on the Aadhaar card, as it was the only official document providing a birth date, and the school record was not based on any birth certificate issued by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) or any other statutory authority.
The high court observed that the investigating officer had not obtained any birth certificates from the girl's school, MCD, or other statutory bodies.
It also referenced a previous decision by a coordinating bench of the high court that had used the Aadhaar card as evidence of the girl's age.