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There Is Likelihood Of Levelling Rape Charges On Instinct Of Self Preservation, Says Bombay HC [Read Judgment]

nitish kashyap
22 April 2017 3:32 PM GMT
There Is Likelihood Of Levelling Rape Charges On Instinct Of Self Preservation, Says Bombay HC [Read Judgment]
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The Bombay High Court has set aside the rape conviction of one Anant Shivde, giving him the benefit of doubt after it was found that the evidence of the prosecution suffers from several infirmities as well as improbabilities.Justice AM Badar passed the judgment after hearing both parties in the appeal filed by the accused. The appeal was for suspension of sentence challenging a sessions...

The Bombay High Court has set aside the rape conviction of one Anant Shivde, giving him the benefit of doubt after it was found that the evidence of the prosecution suffers from several infirmities as well as improbabilities.

Justice AM Badar passed the judgment after hearing both parties in the appeal filed by the accused. The appeal was for suspension of sentence challenging a sessions court’s judgment dated March 20, 2013, convicting Shivde for offences punishable under Sections 363 (kidnapping), 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal Intimidation) of the IPC. 

Facts of the Case

The victim was residing at village Dalal Pada with her mother in her maternal uncle’s house with her cousins.

According to the prosecution, on June 12, 2011, Shivde asked the victim at a bus stop if she would marry him, but she refused to reply.

Thereafter, Shivde came to the victim’s house later in the day and told her that her brother had met with an accident and she should accompany him. He also asked her to take some money for the hospital.

Following this, Shivde pushed the victim inside his jeep and tied a handkerchief around her mouth. The victim was then taken to a forest area. There she was raped by the accused.

According to the girl’s statement, she found a man on a two wheeler who helped her with her clothes and asked her to go to the police station. The girl then went to the police and told them about the incident. This led to the registration of an FIR.

Defense

According to the accused, he had a love affair with the victim girl. She wanted him to marry her, which he refused. She then demanded money from him, and a false case of rape was lodged. 

Courts’ Observations

Justice Badar began his observations by explaining why in rape cases it becomes difficult to find corroborative evidence. What followed was rather unexpected. He said:

“Testimony of a woman having attained majority and who is habitual to sexual intercourse may require corroboration depending on facts of a particular case as there is likelihood of leveling accusation of rape on account of instinct of self preservation. These aspects will have to be kept in mind in order to appreciate evidence adduced by the prosecution in the instant case and for coming to the conclusion as to the truthfulness of evidence of the prosecutrix.”

Justice Badar then pointed out loopholes in the victim’s statement during cross-examination. He questioned how on a Sunday, there was no one in the house when Shivde came to tell the victim about her brother. He further stated that the victim followed the accused to his jeep, hence “there was no reason for him to push her”.

Although she stated that a handkerchief was tied across her face by Shivde, Justice Badar questioned why none of the villagers came to help her.

Furthermore, the victim’s claim that she was raped on a rough stony surface was not corroborated in the medical examination that was the conducted the next day as she had no external injury marks on her body. Justice Badar pointed out how the examination revealed that the “victim’s hymen was partially torn but not freshly torn”.

Thus, the court concluded that the medical evidence did not support the prosecution’s case.

Finally, Shivde’s conviction was set aside and he was acquitted of all charges.

Read the Judgment here.

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