Allahabad High Court: In an appeal against the decision of the Trial Court whereby the accused/appellant has been convicted and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life for the offence punishable under Section 376 of Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) with a fine of Rs. 10,000/- and in default thereof, to further undergo six months simple imprisonment, the bench of Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Shiv Shanker Prasad, JJ. has observed that the charge originally framed against the appellant of attempt to rape under Section 376/511 of Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) is proved beyond reasonable doubt and the conviction of the appellant is altered from Section 376 IPC to Section 376/511 IPC and in view of the provisions contained in Section 57 IPC, the appellant was sentenced to undergo 10 years imprisonment. Further, as the appellant has already served the aforesaid sentence, he shall be released on compliance of Section 437-A Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Thus, the Court sustained the order of conviction and partly allowed the present appeal.
In this case, the victim aged about 11 years went to jungle situated outside the village to collect wood, when the appellant with an evil intention grabbed the victim and dragged her inside the jungle and he attempted to rape her and threatened her to not disclose about the incident to her parents. However, the victim informed her mother about the said incident.
The Court noted that from the material placed on record, it did not appear that the statement of the victim was recorded under Section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in the presence of the Magistrate and in her statement, recorded by the Police under Section 161 CrPC., she had only disclosed the offence of attempt of rape and not actual commissioning of offence of rape.
The Court observed that the complaint made orally by the informant did not contain any allegation regarding rape upon the victim. However, almost nine months after the alleged incident for the first time, the statements of the informant and the victim before the trial court contains a different story of actual commissioning of rape. Thus, these statements are not reliable or convincing.
The Court further observed that the statements of the informant and the victim about commissioning of offence of rape, appears to be clear improvement in the prosecution version, as no plausible explanation has been put forth as to why such disclosure was not made, when the first information report itself was lodged or when their statements were recorded under Section 161 CrPC. Moreover, even at the time of framing of charge such facts were not disclosed by the first informant or the victim. It further observed that “as these statements were made after nearly nine months from the date of alleged incident of commissioning of offence, therefore, does not inspire confidence of the Court”.
The Court also noted that the appellant has asserted in his statement recorded under Section 313 CrPC that he has been falsely implicated on account of enmity relating to election on the post of Village Pradhan, and the victim in her cross-examination has also admitted that her father was supporting the contestant for whom he worked, who had lost election of the said post to another contestant to whom the appellant and his family members supported.
The Court observed that “subsequent statements of the victim and the informant do not appear to be reliable, particularly when it is otherwise not supported by medical evidence”. It also observed that from the statement of the victim, coupled with the marks of injuries sustained by her and the statements of other witnesses, the charge originally framed against the appellant of attempt to rape under Section 376/511 IPC is proved beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, the Court sustained the order of conviction and released the appellant on compliance of Section 437-A CrPC, as he already served the given punishment of 10 years for attempt to rape.
[Mahesh Rathaur v. State of UP, 2022 SCC OnLine All 608, decided on 7.9.2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Counsel for Appellant:- Advocate Sushil Kumar Dubey
Advocate Shivanand Mishra
Counsel for Respondent:- Government Advocate