Del HC | Conviction for rape on the basis of medical evidence refused where testimony of the prosecutrix does not inspire confidence

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, JJ., dismissed a criminal leave petition filed by the State against the order of the trial court whereby the respondent, who was accused of raping the prosecutrix-victim, was acquitted.

The respondent was charged under Sections 363, 366 and 376 IPC along with Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, for the aforementioned offence. The father of the prosecutrix had filed a report with the police that her daughter was missing. Subsequently, the prosecutrix made a phone call to her friend after which she was recovered. She disclosed that the accused had committed wrong acts with her and abandoned her. The accused stood trial under charges as mentioned above. The trial court was of the view that the prosecutrix was not a credible witness and, accordingly, acquitted the accused. Aggrieved thereby, the State filed the present petition.

Aashaa Tiwari, APP appearing for the State, contended that the prosecutrix had “by and large” supported the case of the prosecution and had specifically named the respondent-accused in her statements.

The High Court noted that the prosecutrix was the most material witness in the case; however, her testimony did not inspire confidence as it was in direct conflict with the case put forth by the prosecution. The Court found that, firstly, the place of incident, i.e.,“Hotel Shalimar” as told by the prosecutrix was not found to be in existence. Secondly, the prosecutrix had categorically denied staying at the “Sharda Hotel” contrary to the prosecution’s case and evidence on record. Thirdly, the manner in which prosecutrix stated to have been recovered was contrary to the prosecution’s case. Also, no independent witness was examined by the prosecution to corroborate the story of the prosecutrix. Consequently, the Court held that in the absence of any evidence corroborating the testimony of the prosecutrix, the same could not be relied upon to convict the respondent-accused as it was full of contradictions.

In such view of the matter the Court held that despite the medical evidence confirming that the hymen of the prosecutrix had been freshly torn, there was no evidence to link the respondent-accused with the incident. Accordingly, the High Court upheld the order of the trial court acquitting the respondent. [State v. Rehan, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 172, decided on 21-01-2020]

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