Delhi High Court: The Division Bench of Mukta Gupta and Poonam A. Bamba*, JJ., opined that the accused persons had failed to demonstrate any illegality in the impugned judgment convicting them for the offences they were charged with. Thus, the Court after considering the background of the accused persons, strata of society they belong to, their age and that they (except appellant Accused 1) were the first-time offenders and had expressed remorse, opined that for the offence punishable under Section 376(D) of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’), life imprisonment should meet the ends of justice. Thus, accused persons sentence of imprisonment under Section 376(D) of the IPC was modified from “life for the remainder of convicts’ natural life” to “life imprisonment”.
In the present case, the prosecution case was that an information was received through wireless that “Mori Gate Petrol Pump near Pul Mithai, Phool Mandi, Koocha Mahotwar Khan, Rain Basera, ek ladki 15-16 saal ki, jise koi saath laya tha aur uske saath galat kaam hua hai”, which was recorded and then accordingly the sub-inspector along with two others reached at the informed place. On reaching there, they met the complainant, who had made a call at 100 number from his mobile phone and then he produced prosecutrix informing that she had been raped. The police took the prosecutrix to the hospital, where she was medically examined and thereafter, her statement was recorded.
The prosecutrix in her statement stated that she was residing in Nepal and was going to Jalandhar to meet her sister. She had come to Delhi to board a train for Punjab where she met one of the five men at a railway station who took her outside on the pretext of getting her food. She was instead taken to Rajghat in a van in which four other men were already present. Thereafter, they took her to a room where all the five men raped her. Then, they took her towards the railway station, where she was made to get out of the van and the remaining people left that place. Thereafter, two more men came, and they all forcibly took her to a nearby secluded forest, where they all raped her against her wishes and then all of them left that place. While she was weeping, the complainant met her and asked her the reason for the same and she narrated the happening to him, who then made a call to the police.
On completion of investigation, charge sheet against the accused persons was filed under Sections 376(D), 363, 365 of the IPC for kidnapping, abduction, and gang-rape of the prosecutrix. The accused namely, Aman (Accused 1), Rahul (Accused 2), Mohd. Wasim (Accused 3), Sunny and Bal Kishan (Accused 4) had challenged the judgment passed by Addl. Sessions Judge-Special FTC-02 (Central), Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi, (‘impugned judgment’), whereby:
The accused in their respective statements under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (‘CrPC’) denied all the incriminating circumstances put to them and stated that they were innocent and were falsely implicated in this case. They further stated that the prosecutrix had wrongly identified them in the court and that they had refused to join the TIP proceedings as they were shown to the prosecutrix by the police in the police station.
Analysis, Law, and Decision
The Court, after considering prosecutrix’s background, opined that testimony of prosecutrix was natural and inspired confidence. The Court further opined that the inconsistencies pointed out by the accused persons did not strike at the root of the prosecution case and the same showed that the prosecutrix deposed as per her recollection of traumatic events and was not tutored.
The Court opined that the prosecution had been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
The prosecutrix alighted at Old Delhi Railway Station for her onward journey to Jalandhar for which she bought ticket from the platform but missed the train;
The prosecutrix contacted Brij Mohan (whom she had met inside the train) by calling him on his mobile number, from the mobile phone of Accused 2;
The prosecutrix duly identified all the accused-appellants in the Court. She also identified Accused 2 and 3 as accused, who took her out from the railway station. Appellant Aman brought the car and all of them took her in the said car to the room adjacent to Sanitary Depot Nagar Nigam Aushdhalaya, Yamuna Bazar, Kashmiri Gate, Delhi, where she was raped by all of them. The fact that appellant Aman raped the prosecutrix in the room was also corroborated by FSL report;
From the said room (the first place of incident), the prosecutrix was taken to Phool mandi by the accused 2 and 4 where the accused 3 joined and all three of them raped the prosecutrix at Phool mandi.
The Court opined that the accused persons had failed to demonstrate any illegality in the impugned judgment convicting the appellants for the offences they were charged with.
The Court noted that the counsel for the accused persons prayed for reduction in sentence and it was pleaded that the appellants were young men aged about 25 years at the time of commission of offence and they were having their respective families consisting of wives, children, aged parents to support, being the only bread earners of their respective families. Moreover, they had no previous involvement in any crime except appellant Aman who had been convicted for the offences under Sections 323, 506, 341, 186, 353, 427 and 34 of the IPC, in another case. The Court also noted that the appellants had been in custody for the last 10 years, they were remorseful and had learnt their lesson and wanted an opportunity to reform themselves.
The Court after considering the background of the accused persons, strata of society they belong to, their age and that they (except accused 1) were the first-time offenders and had expressed remorse, opined that for the offence punishable under Section 376(D) of the IPC, life imprisonment should meet the ends of justice. Thus, appellants’ sentence of imprisonment under Section 376(D) of the IPC was modified from “life for the remainder of convicts’ natural life” to “life imprisonment”.
[Aman v. State, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 3662, decided on 26-6-2023]
*Judgment authored by: Justice Poonam A. Bamba
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Appellant: Vivek Sood, Senior Advocate; Rajiv Bajaj, Shurti Khosla, Saahila Lamba, Tarun Khanna, Kanhaiya Singhal, Priyal Garg, Prasanna, Chetan Bhardwaj, Udit Bakshi, Ajay Kumar, Jasmeet S. Chadha Advocates;
For the Respondent: Laksh Khanna, APP.