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Principal booked for issuing fake certificate

- False age document declares murder accused as juvenile to escape regular trial

Jorhat, July 23: A criminal case was registered today against the headmaster of a venture LP school on charges of issuing a fake age certificate to an accused in a murder case.

The case was registered in the court of the additional chief judicial magistrate of Jorhat, under the direction of the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) of Jorhat.

The fake certificate was issued allegedly by the headmaster to one of the accused in a murder case, declaring the accused as a juvenile in order to exempt the youth from the regular murder trial process.

Any juvenile convicted of a crime could be sent to a special home for reformation for a maximum period of three years while any person found guilty of murder could get life imprisonment or be sent to the gallows.

CJM Darak Ullah has directed the Jorhat deputy commissioner to order an inquiry to find out whether LP schools in the venture category had been granted permission by the education department to issue age certificates needed for official purposes.

A case under Section 197 (issuing or signing false certificate) of the IPC has been registered against Dwipen Bharali, headmaster of Srimanta LP School at Samaguri Boniagaon, under Kamalabari police station in Majuli. If a person is convicted under Section 197 of the IPC then he/she could be sentenced for up to seven years of imprisonment and be fined.

The CJM passed the order to register a criminal case against Bharali after finding him guilty of issuing a fake age certificate for Jengbar Das, one of the 16 accused in the murder of Bhaity Das at Goraibhaga on the outskirts of Chenijan here in Jorhat on January 27, 2013.

When the case came for trial (pre-committal stage) at the CJM court in March this year, Jengbar Das made a plea to the court by submitting an age certificate, issued by Bharali, to treat him as a juvenile. He claimed he was 15 years and six months old on the date of occurrence of the crime.

The CJM summoned Bharali with all relevant documents like admission registers of the school to the court on July 7 and found serious discrepancies in the documents. He ordered for a medical test to be conducted on Das at the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital on July 10.

Bharali in his statement admitted to the court that the school did not keep a record of ages of the students and also admitted to issuing age certificates to its former students by his own estimation as no official records were maintained.

The report from the forensic medicine department of the JMCH declared that Das was above 20 years of age.

In view of the JMCH report, CJM Darak Ullah observed prima facie that it appears that Srimanta LP school does not maintain any admission register of the students and their ages in the certificates issued by Bharali is by his own estimation.

“Upon consideration of the seriousness of the crime and its impact upon the society I am of the opinion that a criminal case be registered against Bharali. I also deem it fit to bring the matter to the notice of the deputy commissioner of Jorhat for ordering an inquiry into whether the competent authority has allowed the said LP school and other such venture schools in the district to issue age certificates to its students without maintaining records,” CJM Darak Ullah said.