New Delhi, Feb 14 ; The Delhi High Court on Monday said a conviction for the offence of rape cannot be sustained in the absence of evidence when the version of the prosecutrix is ridden with contradictions and acquitted three persons in a 2012 gang rape case.
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh, who was dealing with a batch of appeals against the 2016 order of conviction by the trial court, however upheld the conviction of three others in the case in view of the medical evidence against them.
Upholding the conviction, the court said that rape is one of the most barbaric and heinous crimes which is committed against the dignity of the victim as well as the society at large and refused to reduce the sentence imposed upon those found guilty.
Regarding the acquittal of other three, the judge said that a conviction can be based on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix but when there is a reason to not accept her version on its face value, the court may look for corroboration and once the evidence makes her story improbable, her case becomes liable to be rejected.
In the present case, the appellants had forcibly taken the prosecutrix, a rag picker, in a car and raped her.
These crimes are against the holy body of a woman and soul of the society. The object of the relevant penal law is to protect women from such offences and to keep alive the conscience of the society by weeding out such criminal proclivity. Hence, it is the duty of every court to award proper sentence considering the nature of the offence and the manner in which it was committed, the court said in its order, while convicting the three found guilty.
Observing that there was sufficient material on record in form of medical evidence and forensic report that incriminates three appellants, the court said that appellants/accused persons Vicky @ Vijay, Lucky and Uma Shanker are not entitled to any relief, their conviction is upheld .
Vijay was awarded twelve years rigorous imprisonment by the trial court while the other two were given a ten-year term apart from fine.
The court, at the same time, noted that there were several contradictions in the statements of prosecutrix, recorded at different stages of the investigation, and thus, in the absence of medical evidence to substantiate the involvement of three other appellants persons, the benefit of doubt ought to be extended to them.
The conviction can be based on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix provided it lends assurance to her testimony. However, in case the court has reason to not accept the version of the prosecutrix on its face value, it may look for corroboration. However, once the evidence is read in its totality and the story projected by the prosecutrix is found to be improbable, the prosecutrix’s case becomes liable to be rejected, it stated.
Already, the accused have spent a substantial portion of their sentence and despite such glaring loopholes in the case of the prosecution, it would be travesty of justice if the accused as named above are incarcerated any further. Therefore, the impugned judgment is set aside, and the appellants/accused namely – Amit @ Sonu Jaat, Satyajeet Biswas @ Satte and Yasin Khan @ Tehna are acquitted in the present case, the court ordered.(PTI)