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CROSS-EXAMINATION OF THE PROSECUTION WITNESSES BEING AN ESSENTIAL RIGHT OF THE ACCUSED, IT IS EVIDENT THAT NON-CROSS-EXAMINATION OF THE SAID WITNESSES WILL PUT THE PETITIONER TO PREJUDICE: ODISHA HIGH COURT

This particular decision is upheld by the High Court of Odisha through the division bench of Justice S.K. Panigrahi in the case of Pidika Sambaru v. State of Odisha and Anr (T.R. Case No.80 of 2018)

Facts

On 15.09.2018 at 05.14 P.M. the opposite party no.2/complainant presented a written report before the Inspector-In-Charge, Narayanpatna Police Station, Narayanpatna alleging that the present petitioner who is resident of his village has committed rape on his daughter seven months ago in his cottage. While his daughter resisted, the present petitioner threatened her to kill. She narrated her daughter’s ordeal to the villagers. By that time, her daughter impregnated with about 7 months. The accused also threatened to the complainant and his family members to kill, if they disclose the matter to anybody or report to police. Hence, they remain silent. On 14.09.2018, there was a village panch meeting at their village for amicable settlement. The village gentries, namely Suba Pidika, Chinaya Pidika, Uttara Tadingi, Narsana Pidika, Kate Pidika, Sasai Pidika, Waralu Huika and others were present in the meeting. They called Sambaru Pidika to the meeting, but he did not attend the meeting.

The panch members told him to report the matter at police station. Hence, he made a report before the police on 15.09.2018. Based on which, Narayanpatna P.S. Case No.72 of 2018 was registered for commission of offences under Sections 376(3)/ 450/ 506 of the Penal Code read with Section 4 of the POCSO Act and investigation was initiated. The victim girl was sent to CHC, Narayanpatna for medical examination and subsequently, the Medical Officer, CHC, Narayanpatna referred the victim girl to S.L.N. Medical College and Hospital, Koraput, as there was no lady Medical Officer at CHC, Narayanpatna. After completion of investigation, the Investigating Officer submitted charge-sheet against the present petitioner.

Judgement

In that view of the aforesaid, this Court is of the view that cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses being an essential right of the accused, it is evident that non-cross-examination of the said witnesses will put the petitioner to prejudice. In such circumstances, it is not unjust to afford an opportunity to the petitioner to cross-examine P.Ws.1 to 3 by recalling them

In view of the peculiar facts and circumstances of the instant case, the CRLREV is disposed of directing that the learned Additional District and Sessions Judge (FTSC), Jeypore shall recall P.Ws.1 to 3 and the department shall make all endeavours to produce P.Ws.1 to 3 as early as possible for cross-examination by the petitioner preferably within a period of one month from the date of production of certified copy of this order. After giving the petitioner an opportunity to cross-examine P.Ws.1 to 3, the trial court shall proceed for expeditious disposal of the case. It is further clarified that the Court shall take steps to recall the child witness at one go without disturbing him/her again and again.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NAISARGIKA MISHRA.

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