PAPPU RAJAK Vs. THE STATE OF JHARKHAND
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
THE STATE OF JHARKHAND
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(1.) We have heard learned counsel for the parties at length. A definite finding of fact has been recorded by the Trial
Court, which is affirmed by the High Court also, that at the time
of incident, the Prosecutrix was less than 16 years of age. No
doubt, to arrive at such a finding, the courts below have gone by
the testimony of PW -3/father of the Prosecutrix, PW -4/Prosecutrix
and PW -2/Ajit Kumar Jaiswal. In a statement given in the Court at
the time of trial, Prosecutorix specifically stated that she was 15
years of age at the time of incident. She was subjected to lengthy
cross -examination by the appellant -accused but her testimony,
insofar as age is concerned, could not be shaken. We find from the
record that the only argument raised by the appellant -accused was
that when she had given the statement under Section 164 Cr.P.C.
before the Magistrate on 04.09.1995, she herself stated that she
was 17 1/2 years of age. We may record that when she appeared as PW -4,
she stated that the accused -appellant had given her Laddoo and
after eating that, she was intoxicated and, therefore, did not even
know what she has stated before the Magistrate while making her
statement under Section 164 Cr.P.C. This version of PW -4 has been
believed by the two courts below. That apart, we are of the view
that not much reliance can be placed on the statement made under
Section 164 Cr.P.C. inasmuch as while recording her deposition, her
age is mentioned as 15 years. Thus, in that very statement, the age
is mentioned as 15 years as well as 17 1/2 years. It is strange that
the concerned Magistrate did not even notice such a discrepancy and
we have doubt as to whether due precautions were taken by the
Magistrate, before recording that statement, as to whether the
Prosecutrix was in a fit state to make the statement and was making
the statement voluntarily. Therefore, as rightly held by the courts
below, no reliance can be placed on the statement given under
Section 164 Cr.P.C.
(2.) Once, we accept the finding of the courts below that the Prosecutrix was less than 16 years of age, then the offence under
Section 366A IPC read with Section 376 IPC is clearly made out.
We, thus, find no error in the judgments of the courts below.
The appeal is devoid of any merit and is dismissed.;
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