15 Sep 2023 8:15 AM GMT
While emphasizing that a delay in filing the first information report (FIR) should not automatically lead to the dismissal of a prosecution case or cast doubt on its credibility, the Patna High Court has upheld the trial court's order of conviction and sentence in a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.The division bench of Justice Alok Kumar Pandey...
While emphasizing that a delay in filing the first information report (FIR) should not automatically lead to the dismissal of a prosecution case or cast doubt on its credibility, the Patna High Court has upheld the trial court's order of conviction and sentence in a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
The division bench of Justice Alok Kumar Pandey and Ashutosh Kumar observed, “No doubt promptness, in lodging the first information report, is assurance regarding truthfulness of the informant's version. If there is delay in lodging the FIR and there is no reasonable explanation for the same it looses advantage of spontaneity.”
“In the case on hand, the victim was totally unaware of the catastrophe which had befallen her. However, on the very same day, she reported the matter to her parents and the fact speaks itself that the manner in which she suffered the injuries and blood was oozing out from her body and she was taken to hospital by her parents,” the bench added.
The court also took into account the statement of the investigating officer (IO), who testified that the victim's FIR was not recorded on the day of the incident due to her medical condition, as she was being hospitalized by her parents.
“The contention of learned counsel for the appellant regarding delay in lodging FIR, lack of proper investigation and inconsistencies found among the version of prosecution witnesses are not tenable and sustainable in the light of the fact as the version of victim/informant on the core spectrum of crime has been found intact along with other material available on record and on evaluating the deposition of PW-1 (victim/informant) on touch- stone of law laid down by Hon'ble Supreme Court in the decisions as cited above, we are of the opinion that the sole testimony of PW-1 (victim/informant) is absolutely trustworthy and unblemished and her evidence is of sterling quality,” the court held.
This ruling stemmed from an appeal against the conviction and sentencing of the sole appellant by the 1st Additional Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge, Madhubani. The appellant had been found guilty of offences under Sections 376(2)(i), 323 of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The appellant was sentenced to 14 years of rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs. 10,000/-.
According to the prosecution's account, in late February 2014, during the evening hours, the appellant approached the victim while she was cleaning pots at the tubewell. He then sexually assaulted her and issued threats to her safety.
At the time of the incident, the victim was alone in her residence. When her older sister returned from washing clothes at the pond, the victim managed to signal for help, and her sister intervened to stop the assault.
Following this, the victim informed her sister about the incident. Subsequently, their parents arrived at the house and were informed of what had occurred. The victim's father then reported the incident to the villagers.
It is further alleged by the victim that prior to this incident, the appellant had exhibited inappropriate behaviour towards her, but she had not reported it due to feelings of shame.
Following these events, a case was registered against the appellant under Sections 376, 323, and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. After due legal proceedings, the trial court found the appellant guilty and imposed a sentence.
The appellant's counsel argued that the appellant was apprehended at his residence on the same day as the incident occurred, with the assistance of local villagers who had detained him in his home. However, despite the appellant's arrest and the commencement of a police investigation, an FIR was not filed until the following day. The prosecution failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for this delay, which raises doubts about the credibility of their narrative.
The Court thoroughly analyzed, evaluated and screened out the evidence of the witnesses adduced before the trial court in the light of the offence punishable under Sections 376(2)(i), 323 of the IPC and Section 6 of the POCSO Act.
Keeping in view all the facts and circumstances of the case available on record and the evidence discussed in the foregoing paragraphs, to sum up, the Court concluded that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt under Sections 376(2)(i), 323 of the I.P.C. and Section 6 of the POCSO Act.
“In the light of discussions made above, we find no reason to differ with the findings given by the trial court on the point of Sections 376(2)(i), 323 of the I.P.C. and Section 6 of the POCSO Act. Accordingly, the impugned judgment of conviction and order of sentence passed by the trial court is hereby affirmed,” the Court said while dismissing the appeal.
Counsel For The Appellant/S: Ms.Shama Sinha, Advocate
Counsel For The Respondent/S: Mr.Ajay Mishra, A.P.P
Ll Citation: 2023 Livelaw (Pat) 110
Case Title: Aamar Gosai Vs. The State Of Bihar
Case No.: Criminal Appeal (Db) No.718 Of 2015
Click Here To Read Judgment