Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: In a criminal application filed by the State after being aggrieved by the decision of the Trial Court wherein an accused-father who had been sexually assaulting his daughter repeatedly for two years was acquitted, a Division Bench comprising Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain*, JJ. reversed the decision while holding that the evidence had been misread and misinterpreted by the Trial Court.


PDD (respondent) was charged and tried for committing aggravated penetrative sexual assault on his daughter and was acquitted of all the charges vide judgment dated 07-06-2019 by the Trial Court. The State felt aggrieved by this decision and filed a petition seeking leave to appeal which was granted and the present petition was re-registered.

The victim along with her mother and brother had also filed a simultaneous appeal against the aforesaid judgment. Both the appeals were dealt with together in the present matter.

The victim, on 19-01-2013, approached the police station and stated that her father had been sexually assaulting her. She revealed that when her father was jobless, he stopped her from going to school and sexually assaulted her when her mother and brother were away. The victim informed her mother about the incident but when she confronted PDD, he scolded the mother. The victim stated that her father had been assaulting her for the past two years and that he had beaten up his mother and brother after which she had come to the police station.

PDD was charged for the commission of offences under Section 6 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) and Sections 506 and 323 of the Penal Code. He pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

The Trial Court, while acquitting PDD, held that the prosecution story was not worthy of any credence and observed that the prosecution had failed to disclose the true genesis of the crime.

Analysis and Decision

The Court stated that even though the matter had been reported to the police two years after the first sexual assault, every delay cannot be branded fatal in a mechanical manner, and that the Court is bound to consider various factors before coming to a conclusion. Further, the Court mentioned that if the delay is explained satisfactorily, the Court can always disregard and condone the same, provided the testimony of the victim is of sterling quality.

The Court reiterated that this was not a case wherein sexual assault was committed by an outsider, and in the present matter if the victim had reported the matter after two years, it could not be said that the delay was ruinous. Further, the Court said that State of Himachal Pradesh v. Sanjay Kumar, (2017) 2 SCC 51 reminds us to take into consideration the realities of life.

Further, it was said the fact that the victim reported the matter after her mother and brother were beaten does not make the matter suspect since the incident merely acted as a catalyst and was taken as a ‘saturation point’ for the victim and her family. This is why the delay cannot be said to be fatal.

The Court stated that even if the discord between the parents is assumed, it would not mean that any daughter would frame her father for committing such a heinous crime. Further, it was said that it cannot be assumed that there was any kind of tutoring or any motive to falsely implicate PDD since the mother wished to save her matrimonial life and only asked her children to report the matter when things went beyond her tolerance.

Further, the Court stated that there would rarely be a foolproof case where there has been no deviation, omission, or contradiction in the statements. It was noted that the pith and substance of all versions of the victim remain the same and consistent, and the duty of the Trial Court was to analyze the evidence minutely with full sensitivity and to then conclude whether the contradictions were grave enough.

The Court stated that merely because a particular witness reveals additional facts during a trial, it would not ipso facto mean that his testimony is liable to be discarded. State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh, (1996) 2 SCC 384 was referred by the Court wherein it was observed that cases of sexual assault should be dealt with utmost sensitivity and Courts should not be swayed by minor contradictions in the statement of the prosecutrix which are not of a fatal nature.

Further, the Court stated that the Trial Court should not have been oblivious to the presumptions enumerated under Sections 29 and 30 of the POCSO Act since it was dealing with an offence specified under POCSO. It was stated that the Trial Court was obligated to presume that PDD had committed the offence unless the contrary was proved as is required by Section 5 of the POCSO Act. The Court enumerated various case laws to state that the victim’s testimony is sufficient to bring home the charges.

The Court held that the testimony of the victim inspired full confidence and there was no reason to suspect her. Further, it was held that no reason was found for the Court to hold that it was a motivated or planted case.

The Court mentioned that if on reassessment of evidence, the Appellate Court feels that the only inevitable conclusion is that the accused is guilty, then the mere fact that the appeal is against acquittal would be immaterial. Thus, the Court stated that the Trial Court had misread and misinterpreted the evidence which made it necessary for the Court to interfere and reverse the order of acquittal. PDD was held guilty of commission of offences punishable under Section 6 of the POCSO Act and Sections 506 and 323 of the Penal Code.

[State v. PDD, 2024 SCC OnLine Del 3483, Decided on 14-05-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Appellants — APP Manjeet Arya, Advocate Tara Narula, Advocate Harshvardhan Jain

For Respondents — Advocate Kamlesh Kr. Mishra, Advocate Dipak Raj, Advocate Bibhuti Bhushan Mishra, Advocate Kailash Kr. Jha, Advocate Anubhav Gupta, Advocate Ravi Rajan Mishra, Advocate Aditya, Advocate Shweta Priya, Advocate Anish Raj, Advocate Deep Raj, Advocate Renu, Advocate Shivani Verma, Advocate Samishti Solomons, Advocate Nitin Kr. Nayak, Advocate Tripti Jugal, APP Manjeet Arya

Buy Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012   HERE

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