High Court: Removing a minor girl’s underwear and getting naked is not an “Attempt to Rape”

Published on: June 13, 2024 22:51 IST

In a shocking Judgment Rajasthan High Court has ruled out the act of removing a minor girl’s underwear and getting naked as an attempt to rape. Instead, the court considered it as an offence of outraging women’s modesty. The HC gave this statement while giving a judgement in a 33-year-old case.

Bench of Justice Anup Kumar Dhand, while giving the judgement on Suwalal’s case said that taking off a girl’s underwear and getting completely naked oneself, does not come under Section 376 and Section 511 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and can not be determined as an “attempt to rape”.

Court Further elaborating on what could be considered a rape attempt, the single-judge bench led by Judge Dhand clarifies that the accused must have gone beyond mere preparation for the crime to be concluded as an attempt. The court ruled the case under IPC section 354, as an offence of outraging women’s modesty.

Court was quoted saying, “In my opinion, from these facts, no case for an offence under Section 376/511 I.P.C. can be held to be proved. In other words, the accused appellant cannot be held to be guilty of attempt to commit rape. The prosecution has been able to prove the case of assault or use of illegal force on the prosecutrix with an intention to outrage her modesty or with knowledge that her modesty was likely to be outraged. Thus, it is a clear case of Section 354 I.P.C. as the act of the present accused has not proceeded beyond the stage of preparation.”

The court was hearing a 33-year-old case that dates back to March 9, 1991, when a complaint was registered against the accused Suvalal by Todaraisingh, in Tonk district saying that, his 6 -year-old granddaughter was forcefully taken to a nearby Dharamshala by the accused Suvalal, The accused then started undressing her with the intention to rape her. However, after listening to her cries for help the villagers came to the rescue, or else the accused might have raped her, the complainant said.

Justice Dhand referenced several similar cases where the crime was convicted as an attempt to rape. he referred to cases like Damodar Behera vs Odisha case and Sittu vs Rajasthan State case, where the accused forcibly stripped the girl and tried to establish physical intimacy with the victim.

The court classified the offence into three stages which needed to be fulfilled to convict a person of “attempt to rape.” The court said, “The first stage exists when the culprit first entertains the idea or intention to commit an offence. In the second stage, he makes preparations to commit it. The third stage is reached when the culprit takes deliberate overt steps to commit the offence.”

In this case, there wasn’t any evidence of penetration as the girl alleged that the accused undressed them both and ran away when she cried for help.

Previously, the district court sentenced Suvalal for an attempt to rape and he served a trial of two and a half months in jail. However, now the HC has overturned the sentence and modified Section 376 &511 to IPC Section 354.

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