The Allahabad High Court has acquitted a rape accused almost after 20 years of imprisonment on finding the testimony of the prosecuterix not reliable.
The Court also expressed its concerns over the delay of around 16 years in referring the appeal which was filed by the accused. The Court stated-
“Most unfortunate aspect of this litigation is that the appeal was preferred through jail. The matter remained as a defective matter for a period of 16 years and, therefore, we normally do not mention defective appeal numbers but we have mentioned the same. This defective conviction appeal was taken up as listing application was filed by the learned counsel appointed by Legal Services Authority on 6.12.2012 with a special mention that the accused is in jail for 20 years”
A Bench was hearing an appeal filed by Vishnu, the rape-accused, challenging the Lalitpur Sessions Judge’s order which had convicted him under Sections 376, 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and 3(1)(xii) read with section 3(2)(v) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes ( Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The Bench comprised Justices Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Gautam Chowdhary.
The appeal was referred through jail but it remained as a defective matter for 16 years. It has now been taken up by the Allahabad High Court.
Following the hearing of the parties, the High Court found the testimony of the prosecuterix not reliable and untrustworthy. It reversed the trial court’s order holding that the accused was wrongfully convicted.
Seeing the delay in hearing of the appeal, the Bench suggested
The Registrar (Listing) through the Registrar General to place the matter before Hon’ble the Chief Justice that periodical listing of matters be taken up in the High Court so that those who are in jail for more than 10 or 14 years, where the appeals are pending, may at least get their appeal heard which are mainly jail appeals.
In this case, the prosecuterix alleged that the accused had raped her while she was on her way to give lunch to her father-in-law. It was submitted that the accused had forcefully harassed her by pushing her on the ground and assaulting her sexually. The main reason stated was casteism which had led to this attack.
However, during an investigation, it was found that there was a mismatch between the statements of the prosecuterix and her father-in-law. Further, the medical reports had shown no evidence of internal as well as external injuries on her body. A land dispute between the parties was also revealed during the hearing.