Minor’s ‘rape’: Bombay HC gives accused benefit of doubt

Says possibility of ‘false implication’ cannot be completely ruled out.

Mumbai | Published: November 2, 2015 7:58:46 am

A man accused of raping a minor has been given the benefit of doubt after the Bombay High Court expressed possibility of false implication. The court found the minor’s version of the crime untrustworthy, saying she would text the accused, a married man, who insisted that she stop talking to him. Her other statements, too, did not “inspire confidence” due to ambiguity, the court observed.

“The evidence also shows that the prosecutrix (minor) used to send messages to the appellant, who is a married person. Therefore, false implication of the appellant is not completely ruled out,” the court said.

The accused was convicted and sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment on the charge of rape in Indian Penal Code coupled with provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

On December 22, 2013, the minor, along with her parents and relatives, lodged a complaint with police alleging that the man had forcefully taken her to a field and gagged her mouth when she had gone out to attend nature’s call. She also alleged that the accused’s cellphone rang for about five times at the time of the incident and he left his phone at the crime scene in a hurry.

After investigations concluded, a chargesheet was filed and subsequently the trial concluded in the accused’s conviction. While the defence lawyer claimed the prosecution’s case was dependant on the minor’s “unreliable” evidence, the prosecutor emphasised there was “overwhelming” evidence.

Evaluating the evidence, the HC pointed out that though the minor had stated in the FIR that the accused dropped his cellphone at the spot, the prosecution had not proved it. The court also observed that although the minor denied texting the accused, investigations had revealed otherwise.

Considering the forensic report, the HC observed that no semen stains were found on either of their clothes.

However, blood stains of group A were found on both their clothes, but the court observed that the seized articles had not been sealed.

The court also perused the medical report of the medical officer who had examined the minor girl. According to the report, there were no injury marks on the minor’s body. The court also noted the minor’s statement that she had been having periods at the time. The court observed that the medical report mentioned that no blood was found on the minor’s genitals.

“For securing conviction on the solitary testimony of the minor, it is absolutely essential and necessary that her evidence is trustworthy. It must inspire confidence in the mind of the court. In the present case, I have no hesitation in my mind to record a finding that the prosecutrix has no regard for truth,” the judge said.

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