Absence of wisdom tooth – not conclusive evidence to establish victim/survivor age: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court (Bombay HC) in an Appeal under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) held that the victim’s age cannot be determined by solely relying on dental examination results. The Special POCSO Court, convicting the accused had relied on dental examination report and dentist’s testimony concluding absence of wisdom tooth, means the victim is a minor. The Bombay HC while setting aside the order noted that, wisdom tooth erupts between 17-25 years, thus age can be above 17 years but non-eruption does not conclusively prove the age is below 18 years. Further, medical test leaves an error margin of 2 years and that benefit of doubt with the age goes in favour of the accused, thus the prosecution has failed to prove its case.