Sixteen years after a police report was filed by a girl from Nagpur against a 20-year-old man for outraging her modesty and 12 years after he was convicted under Sections 354 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, the Bombay High Court has cancelled his bail bond and sent him back to jail.
Justice Rohit B Deo of the Nagpur bench was hearing a criminal appeal filed by the convict against the same judgment dated November 28, 2005, sentencing him to six-month imprisonment for offence under S.354 and to three months under S.506.
However, the accused was acquitted of offences under Section 3(i)(xi) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Appearing for the appellant convict, Addul Subhan argued that the entire trial was vitiated as the investigation was carried out by an officer below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police which is in violation of Rule 7 of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995.
He further argued that relations between the mother of a witness and the accused were not good, which could be motivation and hence sought to discredit her testimony.
This witness was present on the spot of the incident in 2001 when the accused grabbed the victim from behind and groped her against her will and later threatened to kill her if she raised an alarm. The victim said in her statement that the witness ran away from the spot out of fear. Thereafter, she narrated the incident to her parents, who then filed a report.
Upon examination of facts, the court said:“Evidence of the complainant P.W.1(victim) has withstood the test of the cross-examination. I find her testimony implicitly reliable and confidence inspiring. A vague suggestion is given to P.W.1 that due to a dispute she is falsely implicating the accused. However, nothing is brought on record by the accused to suggest the existence of inimical terms between P.W.1 and the accused. It is true that P.W.2 admits that her mother resides near the house of the accused and the inter se relations are not good. However, the existence of bad blood is a double-edged sword and may as well the motive for the accused to outrage the modesty of P.W.1 to spite her mother.”
The court further noted that the act committed by the accused was ‘reprehensible’ and that the trial judge had been ‘extremely lenient’ in sentencing the accused to 6 months only. Justice Deo said: “Any reduction of the sentence would erode public confidence in the justice dispensation system.”
Thus, the appeal was dismissed and bail was cancelled. The convicted appellant has now been directed to go back to the jail to serve the sentence.