14-year-old application from father spells trouble for Kathua ‘juvenile’

14-year-old application from father spells trouble for Kathua ‘juvenile’
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Jammu/Srinagar: An application filed by his father 14 years ago to register the birth of his three children is the centrepiece of the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s plea that the juvenile accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old in Kathua be tried as an adult and not as a minor.
The Crime Branch of the state police, which has contested the trial court’s decision to treat the “juvenile” as a minor, has annexed the application in its petition before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, officials said.
The application is riddled with careless mistakes and raises doubts about its veracity, they said.
The report of a medical board of experts has determined the age of the juvenile as not less than 19 and not more than 23. The report has also been attached by the police to its petition.
The High Court will hear the matter on June 6.
According to the police’s petition, the application filed by the father in the Tehsildar’s office in Hiranagar in Jammu province on April 15, 2004, makes for “interesting” reading and has “imaginary” entries.
The father has asked for a birth certificate for his eldest, a boy, whose date of birth is stated as November 23, 1997, his daughter, said to be born on February 21, 1998, and the youngest, the Kathua accused, on October 23, 2002.
A “perusal” of the date of birth of the two elder children reveals a difference of two months and 28 days.
This, it says, indicates a casual approach adopted by the father in furnishing the particulars of the dates of birth.
While no place of birth has been mentioned for the older two, the juvenile is said to be born in a Hiranagar hospital. But a subsequent investigation to test out the veracity of that statement did not bear that out, officials said.
A special investigation team sent a questionnaire to the block medical officer of Hiranagar and asked for records of the juvenile’s birth along with the particulars of the parents. The block medical officer categorically stated after verifying the records in the hospital that no delivery in the name of the juvenile’s mother had taken place on October 23, 2002.
All these documents have been attached with the police petition.
“…in fact these entries were imaginary, and without any supporting birth record of either Municipal Committee or Primary Health Centre where the birth of the respondent (juvenile) is stated to have taken place,” reads the affidavit submitted by the police.
According to the charge sheet in the case filed by the Crime Branch, the juvenile was instrumental in the abduction, gang rape and killing of the child, who was smothered to death in captivity, in January this year.
The affidavit says the case had attracted the attention of public at large at national and international level in view of the age of the victim.
“A casual and cavalier approach in determining the age of juvenile involved in such a case would not meet the ends of justice,” it says.