The school principal of the juvenile accused in the December 16 gang rape case on Tuesday submitted before a Juvenile Justice Board that as per the school records, he is 17 years and six months old.
The present and the former headmasters of the school in Bhawanipur at Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, 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 that he took admission in the school in 2002.
The former principal said during the time of admission, the boy's father had come to admit him and mentioned his date of birth as April 6, 1995.
He further told the court that they never ask the parents to give the child's birth certificate as age proof during the time of admission in the school.
"We take this as the official record and later on follow the same throughout the academic session, so it cannot be doubted," the principal said.
Taking note of the submissions made by both the school principals, the court has now fixed January 28 as the next date of hearing in the case.
The legal aid counsel for the juvenile advocate Rajesh Tiwari, however, told media personnel outside the court that on the next date of hearing in the case, the board will hear arguments to decide the age of the juvenile and will thereafter give its verdict.
The principals appeared before the board as they were asked to be personally present with all the documents pertaining to his age after the police had raised doubts over his school certificates.
While the juvenile accused is at present lodged in the juvenile home, the other five adult co-accused are lodged in Tihar jail and are being prosecuted in the Saket district court.
The chargesheet filed in the court by the Delhi police is understood to have described him as the most brutal of the six men who raped a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on December 16 and brutally assaulted her leading to her death.
The police have not named him in the chargesheet because of his age. A separate inquiry report will be filed against him after ascertaining his age.
The application of bone-age test of the juvenile, who the police said was the most aggressive of the six accused in the crime, is under consideration before the board.
The five other accused -- Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh and their accomplices Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur -- have been charged with the offences of murder, gang rape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, hurting in committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under the Indian Penal Code.
According to police sources, the minor has confessed during his questioning before the Child Welfare Committee that he was 'sorry'.
The youth is the eldest son of a mentally challenged father. His mother relied on farming to raise the juvenile's two brothers and two sisters in a small hamlet at Badaun.
The investigators said that around five to six years ago, he fled from his home and came to Delhi.
According to the police, he first joined a hotel, worked there as waiter for five months at East Delhi's Trilokpuri and then worked with a milkman at Khoda Village for around eight months.
He then left the milkman and worked with a street eatery on the Delhi highway connecting Uttar Pradesh. After working there for around two months, he had joined a road side dhaba, where he worked for around one and half years, police sources said.
It was at this dhaba that he met Ram Singh, who offered him the job of a helper. He then worked with him in a bus for about six months in Noida.
He then joined a bus owner Salim and started working as a helper there. But he left very soon and joined a Blueline bus plying on the route number 33 in the national capital.
Nearly five months ago, he again met Ram Singh and demanded a job from him. Both met on December 15 and had dinner. The minor then slept at Ram Singh's accommodation.
The next day Ram Singh called all his friends -- Pawan, Vinay, Mukesh and Akshay.
The sources further said that on the fateful night, all the accused partied and then went for a joy ride in bus and to "pick some girl for sexual pleasure" .
They first robbed Ramadhar Singh, who they picked up from R K Puram Sector 4 and then dumped him near the IIT gate. And from Munirka, they picked up the victim and her boyfriend.