Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, March 26
Five years after a girl accused her father of rape, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has acquitted him of the charge. The Bench held that the father would reprimand the girl after seeing her in the company of boys and “that appears to be the reason for the complaint”. The Bench stated that the trial court failed to appreciate the evidence in its totality or with sensitivity.
In custody throughout the trial, the appellant was convicted and sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment, along with Rs 5,000 fine, by an Amritsar court under Section 376 (rape) of the IPC. The FIR was registered in June 2013 at Rambagh police station.
In rape cases, the prosecutrix’s statement, if found convincing, is adequate to convict an accused.
The girl had alleged that she was raped in her house around 6 am on June 8, 2013. At the time of the occurrence, her siblings were away to school; her mother is mentally unstable.
The complainant’s sister was cited as a prosecution witness, but was given up by the prosecution. She was later examined as a defence witness.
Justice Anita Chaudhry said the Bench was required to examine whether the prosecutrix’s statement was convincing and could be relied upon.
She said it was vacation time and schools were closed at the time the offence was alleged to have been committed. So, it was highly improbable that the incident could occur in those days, the judge observed.
Referring to the medical evidence, Justice Chaudhary said there was no “fresh assault”. “The plea taken by the accused that his daughter was out of his control is true. False allegations had been levelled by the daughter and her statement should not have been accepted as the gospel truth,” Justice Chaudhary asserted.
The trial court erred by accepting the prosecutrix’s statement at face value. It should have sought corroboration from other evidence, the judge said.
“The prosecution had been unable to prove its case. Resultantly, the appeal is accepted. The judgment and the order of conviction are set aside. The appellant is in custody. He be released forthwith, if his custody is not required in any other case,” Justice Chaudhry concluded.
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