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P&H HC: ‘It Would be Travesty of Justice to Convict Someone Based Only on Statement of Rape Victim’

3 min read

Tanisha Rana

Published on: October 7, 2022 at 21:55 IST

Justices G.S. Sandhawalia and Jagmohan Bansal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed the appellant’s current appeal against the trial court’s order dated 01-05-2019, which resulted in the rape accused’s acquittal on the grounds that the prosecution had not established the accused’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

They claimed that it would be a farce of justice and there would be no need for a trial if the rape victim’s statement was accepted as gospel truth and courts were required to find someone guilty simply because the victim made an allegation.

On September 19, 2017, a First Information Report (FIR) was filed against the accused under Sections 376, 354, 354-B, 506 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Facts of the Case:

The appellant was engaged to an Indian Army officer. The victim claims that she met her fiancé on August 9, 2017, with approval from her family.

They rode bikes together to Kosli Road, which is close to a school, when the accused conducted obscene activities with her.

The victim claims that when the respondent refused to marry her and threatened to kill her, the victim refused to have a physical relationship with the accused until they were married.

The appellant claimed that she got threats from the respondent’s mobile phone on August 12 and August 14, 2017, and that a few days later she told her family about the entire incident.

The trial court outlined various issues for its consideration and determined that finding the respondent guilty would neither be prudent nor in the interests of justice because there isn’t any solid or convincing evidence linking them to the alleged offence.

The trial court cleared the accused of all counts as a result.

According to the appellant, the event happened on August 9, 2017, however the FIR was filed on September 18, 2017, according to the trial court.

As a result, the registration of the FIR was delayed, and the appellant’s explanations for the delay are not convincing.

Observation and Analysis by the Court:

The trial court has made it clear that the prosecutor’s statement must be given priority attention.

The Trial Court has investigated the accuracy and honesty of the prosecutrix’s claims after becoming aware of this fact. Therefore, there is no obvious mistake, illegality, or lack of mental effort.

The Court said “the statement of prosecutrix cannot be treated as gospel truth and the Court has to see that she is a witness of sterling quality. If the statement of prosecutrix is held to be gospel truth and Courts are bound to hold someone guilty just because there is allegation by prosecutrix.”

“It would be travesty of justice and there would be no need to conduct trial. The statement recorded by Magistrate under Section 164 or police authorities under Section 161 of CrPC would be sufficient to put a person behind the bars and hold him guilty.“

In Dhanapal vs. State, the Court decided that if two viewpoints are possible, the accused must be given the benefit of the doubt.

Additionally, it has been decided that even though there is a double presumption of innocence, the High Court should not reverse the ruling of acquittal if two conceivable outcomes exist.

In light of the foregoing, the Court sustained the trial court’s ruling, stating that it does not warrant interference because the conclusions made by the trial court are fair, reasonable, and well-reasoned and cannot in any way be described as perverse.

According to the court, the appellant claimed that the respondent had threatened her and that she had held the information of the alleged occurrence from her parents out of fear in order to excuse the delay.

The trial court correctly found that the filing of the FIR had been delayed, and it appears that the FIR was afterwards filed to hurt the boy side since the respondent had declined to wed the appellant.