Gujarat High Court: In a criminal appeal filed under Section 372 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, (‘CrPC’) by the informant/victim against the Judgment and order of acquittal of the accused charged with offences under Sections 376(m), 201 and 506(2) of the Penal Code, 1860 by the Additional Sessions Judge, Tharad, the Division Bench of Umesh A. Trivedi* and M. K. Thakker, JJ., dismissed the appeal and upheld the decision of the Additional Sessions Judge.
In the matter at hand, the victim had filed a First Information Report (‘FIR’) that on 23-02-2020 at about 2 p.m., the accused entered her house and at the point of knife he threatened her of killing her parents and raped her. The accused was her third-generation cousin therefore, she could not muster the courage to immediately file the FIR, and therefore, it was filed after about 6-7 days. On the basis of the evidence collected, the police authorities filed a chargesheet and ultimately, a Sessions Case was registered against the accused. However, the accused was acquitted by the Additional Sessions Judge.
The case of the victim against the acquittal of the accused was that she had supported the case of the prosecution and narrated in detail the incident as occurred, which was also supported by the medical evidence.
The Court noted that the accused was a close third-generation cousin and there was a property dispute between the two families. The Court perused the deposition of the victim, wherein it was stated that the accused had committed rape on her at the point of knife. The Court said that as such, during the investigation no knife was discovered or recovered from the accused or anyone else which was alleged to have been used at the time of commission of the offence. The Court also said that there is a major discrepancy regarding the time of the incident, as per the deposition of the victim, the alleged offence took place on the date of incident at about 10 a.m., which is contrary to her FIR wherein it was stated that incident occurred at 2:00 p.m. The Court also found a major discrepancy regarding the history given before the Doctor by the victim that the rape was committed twice within a span of 15 minutes, whereas in her deposition, the victim had stated that that rape was committed once. The Court stated that if at all an offence is committed at a particular time, there cannot be inconsistency in the time of offence in the deposition and the FIR registered by the informant herself.
The Court said that when it was established in the cross-examination, that since years there is a dispute between two families and despite the attempts being made by village people, the relations between the two have not improved, it creates a doubt in respect of the offence and the manner in which it was committed.
Therefore, after going through the evidence and statements of the witnesses, the Court found no error in the reasons assigned by the Judge holding that prosecution had failed to prove the case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, the Court dismissed the appeal and refused to interfere with the Judgment of the Court below.
[Minaben v. State of Gujarat, 2023 SCC OnLine Guj 2181, Decided on: 12-07-2023]
*Judgment Authored by: Justice Umesh A. Trivedi
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the Appellant: Advocate Kishore Prajapati;
For the Respondents: Advocate Shivangi M Rana and Assistant Public Prosecutor Chetna M. Shah.