20 Nov 2023 4:30 AM GMT
The Patna High Court recently acquitted a rape accused, observing that the statement of the victim recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) cannot be the sole basis for conviction.A Division Bench of Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh and Justice Gunnu Anupama Chakravarthy observed, “Though, accused is capable of doing sexual act, that itself cannot prove the guilt for...
The Patna High Court recently acquitted a rape accused, observing that the statement of the victim recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) cannot be the sole basis for conviction.
A Division Bench of Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh and Justice Gunnu Anupama Chakravarthy observed, “Though, accused is capable of doing sexual act, that itself cannot prove the guilt for the charged offences. In the absence of the substantive oral evidence corroborated with medical evidence, it can be construed that the appellant shall presumed to be innocent of the charged offences.”
“The decision relied upon by the Learned counsel for the appellant squarely applies to the facts of the case. The statement of victim recorded under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C. can be used for corroboration or contradiction, but cannot be a sole basis for conviction,” the bench added.
The above ruling came in an appeal filed by the accused against the judgment of conviction passed by the Additional District and Sessions Judge wherein the appellant was convicted for the offences punishable under Section 376(2)(f), 377 of the Indian Penal Code, and under Section 4 of the POCSO Act.
In light of the factual background of the case, the complainant, who happens to be the father of the victim, alleged that the accused, residing in close proximity to their residence, took his 7-year-old daughter to his house and subjected her to sexual assault.
Upon thorough examination of the evidence presented, the High Court noted, “On perusal of the entire evidence, it is evident that there are no eye witnesses to the incident. The victim herself has turned hostile and did not support the case of the prosecution. Furthermore, the presence of the other witnesses is doubtful. P.W. 7 the father of the victim himself stated that he did not speak with the victim after the alleged incident. Furthermore, the medical evidence is not corroborated with the oral evidence, therefore, benefit of doubt has to be extended to the appellant.”
“Therefore, we are of the considered view that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove that the accused have committed sexual assault/rape on the victim girl either on her genitals or of anal penetration on the victim who was aged below 7 years. Further, the medical evidence do not reveal about the unnatural offence in order to attract the punishment under Section 377 of the I.P.C.,” the Court added.
The Court said that there was not an iota of evidence on record to prove that the appellant had committed the offences punishable under section 376(2)(f) or 377 of the I.P.C. It emphasized that the appellant's conviction for the offense under Section 4 of the POCSO Act, applying Section 29 thereof, cannot be upheld. The Court further discredited the trial court's reliance on the 164 statement as the sole basis for the finding that the accused committed rape.
“Therefore, the conviction of the appellant for the offence punishable under Section 376(2)(f), Section 377 of I.P.C. and under Section 4 of POCSO Act are not sustainable and the judgment and conviction and the order of sentence dated 07.02.2022 and 09.02.2022 respectively are hereby set aside. The record reveals that the appellant is in jail since 07.02.2022, hence, shall be released from the jail forthwith, if not required in any other case,” the Court concluded.
Counsel/s For the Appellant: Mr. Bindhyachal Singh, Sr. Advocate: Mr. Parijat Saurav, Advocate: Mr. Vipin Kumar Singh, Advocate
Counsel/s For the Respondent : Ms. Shasi Bala Verma, A.P.P
LL Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Pat) 136
Case Title: Satyamanu Kumar Singh vs. The State of Bihar
Case No.: Criminal Appeal (DB) No.206 of 2022
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