Allahabad HC Acquits Three Men in 1999 Rape and Murder Case, Raises Possibility of False Implication

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Published on: November 16, 2023 at 11:31 IST

The Allahabad High Court has acquitted three men in a 1999 rape and murder case, citing a lack of evidence proving the accused individuals as the actual culprits and acknowledging the potential of false implication.

The Court addressed two appeals filed by the accused persons (appellants) who had been convicted by the Trial Court under Sections 376(2)(g), 302, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), leading to a 10-year imprisonment term and a fine of Rs. 5,000.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Justice Syed Aftab Husain Rizvi, emphasized that the sole testimony of the informant, a chance witness, lacked reliability.

The Court noted serious discrepancies in the testimony, casting doubt on the informant’s credibility regarding the occurrence of the incident. While acknowledging the sexual assault and death of the victim, the Court found insufficient evidence to establish the appellants as the actual perpetrators.

In 1999, the 13-year-old daughter of the informant had gone to collect grass. Around 5 P.M., the informant heard his daughter’s screams from an Arhar field. Upon reaching the field with his father and others, they witnessed the accused persons strangulating the daughter with a bed-sheet. The accused fled upon confrontation.

The victim had already succumbed to the assault, with signs of sexual assault evident. The Investigating Officer conducted an examination, leading to charges under Section 376(2)(g) I.P.C. and Section 302 read with Section 34 I.P.C.

The Trial Court convicted the appellants, but the High Court noted their specific defense—asserting the death of Munni Devi, wife of Raj Bahadur, on the incident’s day.

The appellants, Surjeet and Babloo, were related to Raj Bahadur and were present at Munni Devi’s cremation during the alleged incident time.

The informant, P.W.-1, acknowledged Raj Bahadur’s presence in the village but feigned ignorance about the death in Raj Bahadur’s family on the specified day.

The Court highlighted that the Trial Court failed to appreciate the serious discrepancies in the informant’s testimony and relied on it without considering the inconsistencies. It further noted admissions from other witnesses that supported the appellants’ defense regarding Munni Devi’s death.

In light of these observations, the High Court deemed the Trial Court’s finding of guilt unsustainable, leading to the acquittal of the appellants.

CaSe Title: Arvind Kumar and Another v. State of U.P.

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