Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Observing that the trial court, in the present case, did not seem to be alive to realities, Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. quashed an order whereby the accused-respondent (father of the prosecutrix) was discharged of the offence punishable under Sections 354 (outraging modesty of a woman) and 376(2)(f) (punishment for rape committed by a relative, guardian, teacher or person in position of trust or authority of a woman) IPC.

The trial court discharged the accused as he was blind and the allegations made against him were not specific. Also, the prosecutrix did not raise alarm when she had opportunities and did not file any complaint all this while. It is pertinent to note that the parents of the prosecutrix were divorced and as per the prosecutrix, she did not even remember as to when sexual assaults started to be committed upon her by her father. In the present complaint, she mentioned about incidents which happened when she was the age of 6 years old upto the age of 13-14 years old. She was 18 years old at the time of filing of the complaint. She mentioned that it was only when she was taught sex-education in her hostel, that she came to realise that she was being sexually assaulted. She then talked about it to her friend, who advised her about her options and thereafter they got in touch with an NGO.

The High Court noted that the prosecutrix had given a detailed description of the manner in which she was assaulted by the accused. It was observed: “A child who is subjected to sexual abuse and assault from a tender age of 6 and which assault continues till she is 14 years of age, would not even be aware that she is being abused or any offence is happening. The prosecutrix in her statement has stated that she was not aware of the abuse and became aware only when she grew up.”

Commenting on the flawed approach of the trial court, it was stated: “Trial court has erred in not appreciating that the accused is the father of the prosecutrix and was in a dominating position and keeping in the view the relationship, it would not be abnormal for the prosecutrix not to make a complaint against her own father. The reasoning given by the Trial Court is completely perverse and contrary to record.”

Satisfied that the allegations raised gave suspicion against the accused of having committed the alleged offence, the High Court allowed the present petition of the State which was filed after elucidating opinions from the Additional Public Prosecutor, the Chief Prosecutor, the Director of Prosecution, the Principal Secretary (Law and Justice) and also the Law Minister. The matter was remitted to the trial court for framing of appropriate charges against the appellant. [State (NCT of Delhi) v. X, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 7913, decided on 02-04-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sudhanshu Dhulia, J. dismissed a writ of habeas corpus filed by the petitioner-mother for the custody of her 5 year old son.

Petitioner’s case was that she was married to Respondent 4 and they had a son born out of the wedlock. The respondent harassed her for dowry, and she left the matrimonial home along with her son and started living at her parent’s home. One day her husband and mother-in-law came to her parent’s home and requested her to send the child with them only for ten days. However, the child had not been returned to her since. Moreover, she is not even allowed to talk to her son. According to the petitioner, Respondent 4 was a businessman, remained out of the house, there was no one to take care of the child.

The High Court was not inclined to grant prayer as prayed for by the petitioner. Petitioner’s counsel was asked how the custody of the child with his father could said to be unlawful. The Court held that the child was in custody of his father who was a natural guardian (as was his mother). Further, the petitioner was not able to show that the child was under illegal detention or in illegal custody. Under such circumstances, the Court held that the prayer of the petitioner could not be granted, accordingly, the petition was dismissed. [Akansha Budhiraja v. State of Uttarakhand,2018 SCC OnLine Utt 598, dated 25-06-2018]