‘We find that there is every possibility of false implication of the accused in this matter to take revenge against the family of the accused because of the longstanding disputes inter se between the two families.’
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the release of a man accused of rape of his cousin, observing that the trial court and the high court convicted him merely on conjectures and surmises.
It turns out that he has already served the sentence of seven years’ out of the total sentence of 10 years’ imposed upon him by the trial court. His brother, another accused, convicted in this case had already served out the sentence imposed upon him before he could challenge the conviction before the apex court.
These brothers, Jai Singh and Sham Singh, were accused of raping their minor cousin. The trial court initially acquitted the accused, but later after the high court remanded the case, it convicted the accused. The high court upheld the conviction. Sham Singh approached the apex court, as Jai Singh already served the sentence imposed on him.
The apex court bench comprising Justice NV Ramana and Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar, reappreciating the evidence on record, observed that ‘it is amply clear that the case of the prosecution, as made out, appears to be artificial and concocted’.
“It may not be probable to commit rape in one’s own house in front of the sister, children, wife and mother. If in actuality the incident had taken place, the medical report would have gone against the accused,” the bench said.
The high court had relied upon the ‘mafinama’ to conclude that the accused himself has confessed about his illegal act. The bench said the defense witnesses who were panchayatdars had deposed to the effect that the panchayat was not convened for the purpose of enquiring into the offence of rape by the accused, but it was convened for the purpose of enquiring about the incident of a slap given to the victim by the first accused, and their evidence was not shaken during the cross-examination.
The bench also observed that there is no mention anywhere in victim’s statement about the panchayat that took place for the alleged incident of rape and the accused persons confessing the commission of offence and it is only when she was recalled for re-examination after about seven months, that she has deposed about the panchayat being held and about the alleged confession made by the accused about the offence of rape.
“Such crucial information relating to panchayat could not have been left out by the victim in case such panchayat was actually being held to enquire the alleged offence of rape. As mentioned supra, the wife, children, sister and mother of the accused persons were present in the house when the alleged incident took place. We find that such a scenario is highly unlikely,” the bench said.
The bench also held that non-examination of three important witnesses, namely the milkman who first saw the victim lying unconscious, the doctor who administered injection immediately after the alleged incident and Pappu, in front of whose house the victim was allegedly lying unconscious, further weakens the case of the prosecution. The court also observed that there is every possibility of false implication of the accused in this matter to take revenge against the family of the accused because of the longstanding disputes inter se between the two families.
Setting aside the concurrent conviction, the bench said: “The evidence of the victim/prosecutrix and the Aunt PW10 are unreliable, untrustworthy inasmuch as they are not credible witnesses. Their evidence bristles with contradictions and is full of improbabilities. We cannot resist ourselves to place on record that the prosecution has tried to rope in the appellant merely on assumptions, surmises and conjectures. The story of the prosecution is built on the materials placed on record, which seems to be neither the truth, nor wholly the truth. The findings of the court below, though concurrent, do not desire the merit of acceptance or approval in our hands with regard to the glaring infirmities and illegalities vitiating them, and the patent errors apparent on the face of record resulting in serious and grave miscarriage of justice to the appellant.”