Meghalaya High Court

Meghalaya High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ. and W. Diengdoh, J. disposed of an appeal assailing the judgment of conviction of April 27, 2021 finding the appellant guilty under Section 376(2) of the Penal Code, 1860, the main thrust of the argument was against the sentence of 20 years’ rigorous imprisonment awarded along with the fine of Rs.50,000/-. 


The survivor was all of three years and a half at the time of the incident and the evidence of the medical practitioner who examined her immediately after the first information report was lodged was that she was young, unable to speak and had a condition that impaired her speech. The appellant had confessed that on September 4, 2009, when the survivor was alone, the appellant picked her up and took her to a bedroom, tried to penetrate her followed by fingering the survivor. His sisters who were in the other room called out to her when they heard the noises. Immediately, he removed his finger from her vagina. (The survivor) climbed down from the bed crying and rushed outside.  


The Court noted that at no stage before the trial court did the appellant make an attempt to disown the statement that was attributed to him as being recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973; nor did he retract there from in course of any of his answers to the questions put by the Fast Track Court or the subsequent regular court under Section 313 of the Code. It was concluded that the commission of the offence under Section 376(2) of the Penal Code by the appellant stood established beyond reasonable doubt. 


The Court stated that issue which is of relevance is as to the sentence awarded against the appellant. In this regard the Court noted that it is evident that the conviction primarily rests on the confessional statement of the appellant herein. There is no doubt that there is an element of remorse that comes out from the statement. Considering the conduct of the appellant and his confession made at the earliest stage from which he had not retracted, the sentence stood reduced from 20 years’ R.I. to 15 years’ R.I. together with the fine of Rs.50,000/-. The order of punishment was modified accordingly without interfering with the fine imposed. 

[Armishal L. Marshillong v. State of Meghalaya, Crl.A.No.16 of 2021, decided on June 13, 2022] 

For the Appellant : Mr H.R. Nath, Mr A. Sharma and Ms B. Sun 

For the Respondents : Mr K. Khan and Mr S. Sengupta 

*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief. 


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