Punjab and Haryana High Court: While deciding the instant appeal, where the father was accused of raping and committing sexual assault on his minor daughter and the appellant challenging the impugned judgment passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Sureshwar Thakur and N.S. Shekhawat, JJ., upheld the judgment saying that the testimony of the victim was worthy of credence.
The victim is a 7/8-year-old girl, who was repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped by her father for about 2 months. On 22-07-2008, the complainant heard the shrieks of the victim coming from the room. On opening the door, she saw that the appellant was naked on the floor and was committing bad act forcibly with his daughter, who was also naked. On seeing the complainant, the appellant put on his clothes and ran away, leaving the daughter behind with blood stains on her clothes.
After the registration of the FIR, the accused was arrested, and the victim was taken to the hospital for medico-legal-examination. The victim stated “I reside alongwith my Daddy Roop Lal and my remaining sister – brother are residing with my maternal grandmother. My Daddy has been committing wrong act with me for the last two months. He used to tell me to put down the Salwar and when I used to resist then (he) used to beat me and when I used to refuse to put down my salwar then he used to commit wrong act with me after putting down my salwar, when I used to sleep then (he) also used to commit wrong act with me.”
Observation and Analysis
The Court cited State of U.P. v. Chhotey Lal, (2011) 2 SCC 550, whereby it was said that “a forcible sexual assault brings in humiliation, feeling of disgust, tremendous embarrassment, sense of shame, trauma and lifelong emotional scar to a victim and it is, therefore, most unlikely of a woman, and more so by a young woman, roping in somebody falsely in the crime of rape. The stigma that attaches to the victim of rape in Indian society ordinarily rules out the levelling of false accusations. An Indian woman traditionally will not concoct an untruthful story and bring charges of rape for the purpose of blackmail, hatred, spite or revenge.”
The Court relied on a well settled preposition of law that the conviction for the offence under Section 376 of IPC can be based on the sole testimony of the rape victim. The Court observed that the appellant had ravished his own daughter in the most inhumane manner.
The Court upholding the findings of the trial court said that the evidence of both the witnesses to be trustworthy, convincing and reliable and it is safe to base the judgement of conviction on the said two witnesses.
[Roop Lal v. State of Punjab, 2022 SCC OnLine P&H 2511, decided on 15-09-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case:
For the Appellant: Mr. Harmanpreet Singh, Advocate (Amicus Curiae)
For the Respondent: Ms. Ishma Randhawa, Additional Advocate General, Punjab.
*Kriti Kumar, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.