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Rape Case Against Accused Can’t Be Quashed Merely Because Victim Didn’t Support Prosecution Case During Trial Of Co-Accused: Orissa HC [Read Judgment]

This court cannot assume a thing and quash the criminal proceeding against the petitioner on the ground that the co-accused persons have been acquitted as the victim has not supported the prosecution case, the Court said.

The Orissa High Court has observed that merely because the victim did not support the prosecution case during trial in respect of the co-accused persons, the same cannot be a ground to quash the criminal proceeding against the accused.

In this case, after getting victim’s statements recorded under sections 161 and 164 CrPC, the police filed charge sheet against four accused. Three of them faced trial and were acquitted as the victim herself did not support the prosecution case during trial. Later the absconding accused, whose case was split up, approached the high court seeking to quash case against him.

On behalf of the accused, it was contended that when the victim has not supported the prosecution case during course of trial in respect of the co-accused persons and she has gone to the extent of deposing that she did not know anything about the occurrence and she was not examined by the police in connection with the case nor she had given any statement before any magistrate, no fruitful purpose would be served in allowing the proceeding to continue in respect of the petitioner and it would be a sheer wastage of valuable time of the court.

However, Justice SK Sahoo observed that even if the victim has not supported the prosecution case during trial of the co-accused persons, the possibility of the victim supporting the prosecution case during the course of trial of the petitioner cannot be ruled out.

“If the accused against whom accusation of abduction and gang rape is there remains as an absconder, watches the criminal proceeding in respect of the co-accused persons and after such proceeding ended in acquittal before the learned trial Court, he comes out of his hiding place either because he felt that it had become insecure or because he believed that his presence would sooner nor later be discovered by his pursuers or that in view of the acquittal of the co-accused persons, the prosecution case against him has become weak and the Court accepts his plea on the basis of the evidence adduced in the trial of the co-accused persons and quashes the proceeding against him then it would be a travesty of justice,” the court said.

It said that evidentiary value of the victim’s statement after confrontation of her previous statement given while deposing in case of the co-accused is to be assessed by the trial court on the basis of explanation by the victim as to why she did not support the prosecution case while she was examined during trial of the co-accused persons in spite of the fact that she gave her statement before police as well as before the magistrate implicating the accused.

What will happen in future in the trial of the petitioner cannot certainly be predicted at this stage. This Court cannot assume a thing and quash the criminal proceeding against the petitioner on the ground that the co-accused persons have been acquitted as the victim has not supported the prosecution case, the court said while rejecting his plea.

Read the Judgment Here

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