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Accused cannot be convicted for Rape solely based on the statement of the prosecutrix without any co

SANTOSH PRASAD Vs THE STATE OF BIHAR CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 264 OF 2020 – FEBRUARY 14, 2020.

The judgment was pronounced by Hon’ble justice M.R. SHAH and Hon’ble justice ASHOK BHUSHAN.

Facts

The appellant was convicted under section 376 and 450 of IPC with rigorous imprisonment for 10 years by Trial court and the same was confirmed by High Court. Being aggrieved by the order of the High court the accused preferred the current appeal.

Learned Advocate appearing on behalf of the original accused that the courts below have not properly appreciated the fact that as such the medical report does not support the case of the prosecutrix/prosecution. It is submitted that the evidence of the prosecutrix is not supported by the medical evidence since no stains of semen or blood were found on the clothes of the prosecutrix. It is submitted therefore that it creates serious doubt about the credibility of the prosecutrix. And there was a delay in lodging/reporting the case to the police, even there is a material contradiction with respect to lodging of the FIR/the written report. It is further submitted that therefore when the conviction is based on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix and the medical evidence does not support the case of the prosecution/prosecutrix and the deposition of the prosecutrix is full of material contradictions and that there was already a dispute between the accused and the family members of the prosecutrix and no independent witnesses have been examined, it is not safe to convict the accused solely on such testimony of the prosecutrix.

Learned Advocate appearing on behalf of the respondent – State that in the present case the prosecutrix has fully supported the case of the prosecution. It is submitted that as observed by this Court in the cases of Ranjit Hazarika v. State of Assam (1998) 8 SCC 635 as well as State of Punjab v. Gurmeet Singh & others (1996) 2 SCC 384, the courts must, while evaluating evidence, remain alive to the fact that in a case of rape, no self-respecting woman will come forward in a court just to make a humiliating statement against her honour such as is involved in the commission of rape on her. It is submitted that as observed and held by this Court that ordinarily the evidence of a prosecutrix should not be suspected and should be believed and if the evidence is reliable, no corroboration is necessary.

 The court observed that, In the case of Krishna Kumar Malik v. State of Haryana (2011) 7 SCC 130, it is observed and held by this Court that no doubt, it is true that to hold an accused guilty for commission of an offence of rape, the solitary evidence of the prosecutrix is sufficient provided the same inspires confidence and appears to be absolutely trustworthy, unblemished and should be of sterling quality.

The Court obsereved that;

Having gone through and considered the deposition of the prosecutrix, we find that there are material contradictions. Not only there are material contradictions, but even the manner in which the alleged incident has taken place as per the version of the prosecutrix is not believable. There is a variation in her version about giving the complaint. There is a delay in the FIR. The medical report does not support the case of the prosecution. FSL report also does not support the case of the prosecution. As admitted, there was an enmity/dispute between both the parties with respect to land. The manner in which the occurrence is stated to have occurred is not believable. Therefore, in the facts and circumstances of the case, we find that the solitary version of the prosecutrix – PW5 cannot be taken as a gospel truth at face value and in the absence of any other supporting evidence, there is no scope to sustain the conviction and sentence imposed on the appellant and accused is to be given the benefit of doubt.

Thus, the appeal is allowed.

View/ Download the Judgment: SANTOSH PRASAD Vs THE STATE OF BIHAR

– Aarthy K

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