Published on: 13 September 2023 at 20:20 IST
The Delhi High Court upheld the acquittal of a man and his mother who had faced charges of kidnapping, abduction, rape, criminal intimidation, and wrongful confinement.
The Division Bench, consisting of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna, reached this verdict after careful consideration.
The case centered around the prosecutrix’s allegations that the accused had kidnapped and raped her after she declined his proposal for friendship. She further claimed that he had promised to marry her but had instead confined her, leading to her pregnancy and the birth of a child.
The Sessions court had framed charges against the accused under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with charges against the second respondent, the prosecutrix’s mother-in-law. However, during the trial, the evidence presented raised doubts about the veracity of the prosecutrix’s claims.
The Delhi High Court, while upholding the acquittal order, emphasized several key factors. First, it noted that no document or scientific opinion had been presented to verify the prosecutrix’s age. Second, the prosecution had failed to establish a strong case against the respondents.
The Bench observed that the prosecutrix’s conduct indicated she had engaged in a consensual physical relationship with the accused and had possibly targeted her husband and mother-in-law due to matrimonial issues.
Crucially, the court found evidence in the form of a complaint by the prosecutrix regarding dowry demands made by her husband and in-laws, as well as her expressed desire to take legal action against them and separate from them.
Additionally, a counselor testified that the dispute between the prosecutrix and her mother-in-law remained unresolved because the prosecutrix was unwilling to return to her matrimonial home.
Furthermore, the court pointed out significant contradictions in the prosecutrix’s statements recorded at different times, both under Sections 164 CrPC and 161 CrPC, and during her court testimony. These inconsistencies cast doubt on her claims, particularly regarding the nature of her marriage to the accused.
In light of these findings, the Delhi High Court concluded that the Trial court’s decision to acquit the respondents was appropriate. The Bench granted them the benefit of doubt for the charged offenses, ultimately upholding the acquittal order.
This case, titled “State (NCT of Delhi) v. Mahadev @ Sharad and Anr.,” highlights the importance of a thorough examination of evidence and the need to establish a strong case beyond reasonable doubt in criminal proceedings.