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Orissa High Court rules that there is no legal requirement to add two years to the upper age limit determined by the “ossification test”

In the case of Gobardhan Gadaba @ Gadava v. State of Odisha(Case No.: CRLREV No. 247 of 2007). According to the Orissa High Court, there is no legal requirement that two years be automatically added to the maximum age as decided by the “ossification test.” In dismissing a similar claim, Justice Sashikanta Mishra’s Single Judge Bench noted, “There is no rule that stipulates that the outer age limit indicated by the ossification test always needs to be increased by two years. It would be more prudent for the Court to accept the upper age range, which in this case is 16 years, as stated by the ossification report.”

Facts: According to a decision rendered on 03.02.2006 by the Chief Judicial Magistrate/Assistant Sessions Judge, Jeypore, the petitioner accused in this case was found guilty of the crime under Sections 363 and 376 of the IPC. The Additional Sessions Judge (Fast Track Court), Jeypore, confirmed the conviction and sentence in the aforementioned judgement in a decision dated November 21, 2006. In the current revision, the petitioner went to the High Court to contest such a conviction and sentencing judgement as well as the ruling that upheld it.

Judgement: The Court reaffirmed that the law compels it to handle rape cases with the highest sensitivity by considering the larger probabilities of a case and not letting slight or inconsequential disparities in the prosecution’s statement that are not of a fatal type deter it. The ruling by the Supreme Court in State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh was cited. The Court said, “It is also cliché that a rape victim is not an accomplice; rather, her situation is similar to that of an injured witness. Typically, the testimony of a prosecutrix should be accepted and believed; if the testimony is trustworthy, no other evidence is required. A prosecutrix’s solitary testimony may be used as the only basis for a conviction if it is implicitly trustworthy and has a strong sense of veracity. As a result, the law holds that a conviction can be founded even solely on the prosecutrix’s testimony as long as it is genuine, reliable, and deserving of trust. Regarding the claim that the victim’s account is hard to believe given that the vehicle in question was 200 metres from her house, there were other houses between, and yet the victim didn’t yell, the Court noted that it was revealed during cross-examination that the accused was throttling her while dragging her. Furthermore, the victim was not questioned during the trial as to whether she had shouted. Because the defence has not questioned whether the victim shouted in protest while being dragged to the vehicle, the Court concluded that the argument made to the High Court at this late point cannot be accepted, even if the victim was choked by the accused. The Court rejected the argument that the prosecutrix’s story is false because of her lack of personal injury. It was decided that it is widely established that physical harm to a rape victim is not even a need for proving rape. As a result, the lack of damage to the victim’s person is not necessarily proof that the rape accusation is false or proof that the prosecutor gave her consent. In this regard, the ruling of the Supreme Court in Mukesh v. State was cited (NCT of Delhi). The prosecutrix had a ruptured hymen, and the court rejected the claim that she gave her consent to the sex since her vagina was wide enough to accommodate two fingers. The court pointed out that even though the victim was accustomed to having sex, that does not give the accused or anyone else permission to take advantage of her sexually without her agreement, nor can it be stated that she was a girl of simple virtue. It noted further that “If there was even the slightest indication that the victim gave her agreement to the sexual encounter, her age would still be significant. There is no such evidence to support the theory of voluntary sexual activity, as has already been detailed here. Even if for a moment we assume that the victim was around 18 years old at the time, in light of the circumstances, this will not in any way benefit the accused.” As a result, the revision was rejected and the decisions of the lower appellate court as well as the trial court were upheld.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY SNIGDHA DUBEY

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