top of page

[s.378 CrPC] Decision arrived on basis of no evidence/thoroughly unreliable, order would be perverse

It is further observed, after following the decision of this Court in the case of Kuldeep Singh v. Commissioner of Police (1999) 2 SCC 10, that if a decision is arrived at on the basis of no evidence or thoroughly unreliable evidence and no reasonable person would act upon it, the order would be perverse. But if there is some evidence on record which is acceptable and which could be relied upon, the conclusions would not be treated as perverse and the findings would not be interfered with. (Para 9.3)



Supreme Court Convicts Accused for Rape Of Victim With Mild Mental Retardation.

Chaman Lal v. The State of Himachal Pradesh

Criminal Appeal No. 1229 Of 2017

3rd December 2020.

Counsel for Appellant: Ms. Radhika Gautam.

Counsel for Respondents: Mr. Sarthak Ghonkrokta.


The Hon'ble Supreme Court Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy And M.R. Shah in an appeal by an accused to quash and set aside a High Court Judgment which sentenced the accused to undergo seven years R.I. with fine of Rs. 10,000/­ held that the High Court has rightly convicted the accused and the court will hence not interfere in the same.


The father of the prosecutrix lodged an FIR against the accused with the allegations his wife telephonically informed him that their daughter (prosecutrix) is pregnant. The prosecutrix told her mother that three -four months ago, accused had sexual intercourse with her forcibly and without her consent while she went for grazing cattle. Due to fear and due to forgetting the same and further due to mental weakness, she did not disclose about the incident to anyone. As per the Medical Officer the prosecutrix was carrying a pregnancy of 31 weeks and her age was stated to be 19 years. She was alleged to be mentally retarded. Thereafter, the prosecutrix delivered a girl child and as per the DNA report, accused was the biological father of the female child and he was arrested. He pleaded not guilty. The learned trial Court acquitted the accused mainly on the ground of delay in lodging the FIR and also on the ground that the prosecutrix was not mentally unsound to understand the consequences and what was happening. Feeling aggrieved the State preferred appeal before the High Court and the High Court has reversed the order of acquittal and has convicted the accused for the offences under Sec.376 and Sec.506 IPC by observing that the prosecutrix was not in a position to understand the good and bad aspect of the sexual assault. The aggrieved accused has filed this present appeal.


( para 9) Before considering the appeal on merits, the law on the appeal against acquittal and the scope and ambit of Section 378 Cr.P.C. and the interference by the High Court in an appeal against acquittal is required to be considered.

( Para 9.1) In the case of Babu v. State of Kerala, (2010) 9 SCC 189), this Court had reiterated the principles to be followed in an appeal against acquittal under Section 378 Cr.P.C


(para 9.2) When the findings of fact recorded by a court can be held to be perverse has been dealt with and considered in paragraph 20 of the aforesaid decision, which reads as under:

“20. The findings of fact recorded by a court can be held to be perverse if the findings have been arrived at by ignoring or excluding relevant material or by taking into consideration irrelevant/inadmissible material. The finding may also be said to be perverse if it is “against the weight of evidence”, or if the finding so outrageously defies logic as to suffer from the vice of irrationality. (Vide Rajinder Kumar Kindra v. Delhi Admn (1984) 4 SCC 635, Excise and Taxation Officer­cum­Assessing Authority v. Gopi Nath & Sons 1992 Supp (2) SCC 312, Triveni Rubber & Plastics v. CCE 1994 Supp. (3) SCC 665, Gaya Din v. Hanuman Prasad (2001) 1 SCC 501, Aruvelu v. State (2009) 10 SCC 206 and Gamini Bala Koteswara Rao v. State of A.P (2009) 10 SCC 636).” (emphasis supplied)

It is further observed, after following the decision of this Court in the case of Kuldeep Singh v. Commissioner of Police (1999) 2 SCC 10, that if a decision is arrived at on the basis of no evidence or thoroughly unreliable evidence and no reasonable person would act upon it, the order would be perverse. But if there is some evidence on record which is acceptable and which could be relied upon, the conclusions would not be treated as perverse and the findings would not be interfered with. (Para 9.3)


The counsel for appellant relying upon the decision of this Court in the case of Krishna v. State of Karnataka (2014) 15 SCC 596, submitted that the High Court has materially erred in reversing the acquittal and convicting the accused in an appeal against acquittal. It is submitted that cogent reasons were given by the learned trial Court, which were on appreciation of the evidence on record, and therefore the same were not required to be interfered with by the High Court in exercise of the appellate jurisdiction in an appeal against acquittal. It was further submitted by the learned Advocate that out of seven years imprisonment, the accused has already undergone four years and therefore it was prayed to allow the present appeal and quash and set aside the impugned judgment passed by the High Court and in the alternative to reduce the sentence to the period already undergone by the accused.


The issue raised before this court based on the contention is as follows:

1) Whether the High Court is justified in interfering with the order of acquittal passed by the learned trial Court and thereby convicting the accused?

"Having gone through the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court and also the judgment and order of acquittal passed by the learned trial Court, we are of the firm opinion that in the facts and circumstances of the case the High Court is justified and, as such, has not committed any error in reversing the order of acquittal passed by the learned trial Court and convicting the accused for the offences under Sections 376 and 506 IPC. Being the first appellate Court and as observed hereinabove in the aforesaid decisions the High Court was justified in re­appreciating the entire evidence on record and the reasoning given by the learned trial Court. In the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court has acted within the parameters of the law laid down by this Court in the decisions, referred to hereinabove." (Para 10)


It appears that the accused had taken disadvantage of the mental illness of the victim and he is found to be the biological father of the baby child delivered by the victim. Despite the above, in his statement the case of the accused was of a total denial. Therefore, considering the evidence on record, more particularly the deposition of the Medical Officers and even the deposition of the other prosecution witnesses, the High Court has rightly observed that case would fall under Sec. 375 IPC and has rightly convicted the accused for the offence under Sec. 376 IPC. Now as far as the leniency of punishment is concerned, the High Court as such has taken a very lenient view by imposing the minimum sentence of seven years RI. Therefore, no interference of this Court against the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court convicting the accused is called for. Hence, the appeal stands dismissed.



M. Maheswari

Comentários


Articles

bottom of page