Tri HC | Principle of proving beyond reasonable doubt is equally applicable in rape cases as there can be no presumption of victim telling the truth

Tripura High Court

Tripura High Court: Arindam Lodh, J. allowed the appeal and acquitted the appellant from the charges framed under Sections 376(1), 354 and 451 of the Penal Code, 1860 (rape, assault or criminal force to women with intent to outrage her modesty and house trespass respectively).

An FIR was filed against the appellant by a 12 year old victim girl and her mother charging him under Sections 376(1), 354 and 451 of Penal Code, 1860 which further led to the Sessions trial where the additional Sessions Judge passed a judgment against the appellant convicting him for the said charges and punishing him with fine and imprisonment. The accused then filed an appeal against the following judgment of the trial court.

S. Sarkar, learned counsel for the appellant, contended that the statements of the victim and the witnesses have recorded however during cross-examination the victim and the most of the witnesses denied their previous statements which was doubtful on part of the prosecution. The victim also stated that she narrated false facts as she was threatened by her mother. Also the prosecution was unable to explain to why the FIR was filed 2 days later and not on the same day. On comparing statements of the victim’s mother with the records, it was found that she was lying about her absence and the facts. Moreover, as per the medical examination report and the statement of the doctor, it was proved that the victim was not subjected to rape or any kind of physical violence.

High Court opined that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. It also took into account that it was unable to understand the reason behind the change of statements of the victim. Relying on the judgment in Panchhi v. State of Uttar Pradesh,  (1998) 7 SCC 177 the Court held that the evidence of a child witness must be evaluated more carefully before it is relied on, as a child can get swayed easily by others guidance. Hence, the court opined that it was risky to convict the appellant under Section 376 of IPC. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed and the appellant was acquitted. [Bimal Acharjee v. State of Tripura, Crl. A (J) 10 of 2014, decided on 04-09-2019]

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