Madhya Pradesh HC Convicts Rape Accused Treating Victim’s Suicide Note As Dying Declaration [Read Judgment]
‘The entire reading of the dying declaration does not absolve the accused though she said that they be not punished.’
The Madhya Pradesh High Court has treated a suicide note of a rape victim who had killed herself as a dying declaration and convicted two accused.
Two persons, Shahid and Shamim, were accused of raping the 18-year-old girl who had entered their car after they offered her to drop her home. The girl herself lodged the complaint and after some days committed suicide. In her suicide note, she said that no one was responsible for her death. She also requested in her note to release the accused.
She wrote this describing the incident: “It was my fault that I sat in their vehicle, being enticed. Though they were drunk but I was in my senses. It is commonly said that if food is served before any hungry person he would not leave it uneaten. I sat in their vehicle by mistake and they apprehended me to be a girl of loose character. Whatever happened to me has ruined my life, now I don't want to ruin the life of the boys by punishing them.”
The trial court acquitted the accused holding that even if the accused have committed intercourse, it is with her consent.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Hemant Gupta (as he then was) and Justice Atul Sreedharan observed that evidence as to the cause of death is relevant not only in relation to the cause of death of the person making the statement but also to the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in death.
“In the suicide note when the prosecutrix has tried to convey that the accused were hungry (for sex) and that she became their food (victim), it clearly indicates that she was violated and that she did not want to live life of disgrace. The entire reading of the dying declaration does not absolve the accused though she said that they be not punished. Such suicide note is to be treated as dying declaration and is admissible under Section 32 of the Evidence Act, 1872,” the court said.
Further stressing on admissibility of suicide note as dying declaration, the bench said: “The argument that the suicide note does not name the accused, is of no consequence, as the presence of the victim with the accused at the place of occurrence is proved from the statement of Kashi Singh (PW-1), Kishan Singh (PW-4) and also Manoj Sharma (PW-14), who recorded the first information report. The suicide note has to be read as a whole and not a line can be picked up from out of context. She is referring to the accused as she is the one who has taken lift in the car and that she cannot take disgrace. The disgrace is the violation of her person.”
The court also disapproved the trial court view on ‘consent’ and said that even if the victim was habitual of sex, but that does not mean that she consented to have sex with the accused and that the question of consent does not arise in view of the statement of her brother and her suicide note.
The bench then convicted the accused under Section 376(2) (g) of the IPC and sentenced them to undergo imprisonment for life.Read the Judgment Here