Man accused of raping daughter acquitted after his death in light of one-sided investigation and unfair trial

Delhi High Court: Observing the approach of the trial court to be wholly misdirected and erroneous, a Single Judge Bench comprising of R.K. Gauba, J. allowed a criminal appeal setting aside the judgment of the trial court whereby the appellant was convicted under Section 376 IPC for raping his daughter.

During the pendency of the appeal, which was finally adjudicated after 17 years it was presented, the appellant died and the appeal was prosecuted by his wife. The appellant was alleged to have committed rape on prosecutrix- her daughter on several occasion. Resultantly, she became pregnant after which the appellant asked her to write a suicide note implicating one Bhushan and commit suicide. Thereafter, the prosecutrix went missing and subsequently, she lodged FIR against the appellant. Notably, at relevant time, the prosecutrix was a minor and the appellant had also filed an FIR under Section 363 IPC alleging that Bhushan had kidnapped her. However, the FIR lodged by the appellant was lodged without any probe and he was tried and convicted under Section 376 by the trial court. Aggrieved thereby, the appellant filed the instant appeal.

The High Court perused the record and was of the opinion that this was a case of one-sided probe and unfair trial. The version of the prosecutrix was highly questionable and even witness testimony was suspicious. The basis for giving a clean chit to Bhushan was left to the imagination. Collection of evidence was also unsatisfactory. Also, the appellant cried foul from day one and demanded DNA test to be done. The police did not listen and even the trial court did not pass any direction. The Court deplored the inaction on part of all concerned. It was held that the conviction of the appellant could not be allowed to stand. Resultantly, the appeal was allowed and the appellant was acquitted of the charge. [Kapil Kumar Beri v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2018 SCC OnLine Del 13023, dated 19-12-2018]

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