Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Abhay Manohar Sapre and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ acquitted a man convicted for the offence of rape and said that the Session Court and the Patna High Court were not justified in convicting the appellant for an offence punishable under Section 376 IPC and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years.

Factual Background:

Prosecutrix alleged that the appellant, December 14, 1997, entered into her house when she was alone and threatened her by showing pistol and committed rape on her. The prosecution examined, prosecutrix’s husband and a neighbour, apart from examining the prosecutrix herself. Both the Courts below based their conclusions on the evidence of the aforementioned 3 witnesses.

Grounds for acquittal:

  • the complainant was not examined by the Doctor after the alleged incident.
  • in absence of any medical examination done, the prosecution did not examine any doctor in the trial in support of their case;
  • it was not disputed that similar type of complaints were being made in past by the complainant ag and such complaints were later found false;
  • it was also not disputed that there was enmity between the appellant and the husband of the prosecutrix, due to which their relations were not cordial;
  • it had also come in evidence that the prosecutrix was in habit of implicating all the persons by making wild allegations of such nature against those with whom she or/and her husband were having any kind of disputes;
  • there was no eye witness to the alleged incident and the one, who was cited as witness, was a chance witness on whose testimony, a charge of rape could not be established;
  • so far as the husband of the complainant, is concerned, he admitted that he was away and returned to village the next day morning of the incident.

Ruling:

Noticing that there was no evidence adduced by the prosecution to prove the commission of the offence of rape by the appellant on the prosecutrix and the evidence adduced was not sufficient to prove the case of rape against the appellant, Court set the accused free.

[Ganga Prasad Mahto v. State of Bihar, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 417, decided on 26.03.2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: In an interesting case, Vibha Kankanwadi, J. allowed an appeal filed by the husband against the order of the first appellate court wherein trial court’s order granting divorce to him against the respondent (wife) was reversed.

Parties married to each-other at Solapur in 1999. They resided at Jalgaon since 2000. As per the husband, after about 4 years of peaceful marriage, the wife started visiting her parent’s home frequently and she used to live there for nearly 2-3 months. On enquiring, the husband came to know that she had married earlier and she also had 2 children from her earlier marriage. It was alleged that she started giving false complaints against the husband to the police and also in the  Government Hospital where he worked. She also gave a complaint to the then Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra. On this basis, the husband filed a complaint seeking a decree of divorce against his wife under Section 13(1)(i-a) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Holding that such conduct of the wife amounted to cruelty, trial court passed a decree of divorce in favour of the husband. However, this order was reversed by the first appellate court on an appeal filed by the wife.

Pramod P. Dhonde, Advocate for the husband assailed the order of first appellate court contending that he has proved the acts of cruelty on part of the wife. Per contra, D.S. Kudale, Advocate representing the wife supported the impugned order.

The High Court perused the record and noted that the wife did not dispute the fact of 2 children being born to her prior to marriage, though she did not admit the fact of her earlier marriage. On facts of the case, it was doubted that the husband had prior knowledge of such fact. Furthermore, it was found that she had lodged an FIR against the husband and his family under Section 498-A IPC which had been quashed by the Court. The Court found it proved that the wife was making false complaints and making frivolous allegations against the husband without proper evidence to support her case. It was observed, ” she had given complaint against the husband to the then Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra. That means, whatever allegations she was levelling, though it was relating to her domestic affair, she has given publicity to the same by making complaints to the hospital of the petitioner, i.e. the Government hospital, where the petitioner was serving at that time and also with the police.” In the Court’s opinion, the situation was one of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Relying on various cases, the Court held that the impugned order was unsustainable. Therefore, the appeal was allowed and trial court’s order granting divorce was restored. [X v. Y, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 292, dated 20-02-2019]