24 Aug 2022 5:52 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court has upheld the acquittal of an accused under the POCSO Act on the ground that the victim's allegations were unreliable and contained several omissions and contradictions.While dismissing the State's appeal, a bench of Justice SH Vora and Justice Rajendra Sareen noted that at the time of alleged incident, both brothers of the prosecutrix were at home but, she did not...
The Gujarat High Court has upheld the acquittal of an accused under the POCSO Act on the ground that the victim's allegations were unreliable and contained several omissions and contradictions.
While dismissing the State's appeal, a bench of Justice SH Vora and Justice Rajendra Sareen noted that at the time of alleged incident, both brothers of the prosecutrix were at home but, she did not shout for help. "Not only that, she did not disclose to any of her relatives, who came at her home despite she was asked."
The bench also found that the victim's birth certificate showing her to be a minor was only obtained after the registration of the FIR thus casting a doubt on her age. Accordingly, the Bench opined:
"Registration and issuance of the birth certificate of the victim took place on 14.8.2019. However, the prosecution has not brought on record any authentic and reliable evidence as to wherefrom the contents of the birth certificate being obtained and placed on record...trial judge has rightly disbelieved the birth certificate in absence of cogent and reliable evidence."
The Prosecution had contested that the Accused had forcibly entered the house of the victim, threatened to kill her and then forcibly committed intercourse. Consequently, the complaint was filed. The Trial Court, however, was not convinced by the 14 witnesses presented by Prosecution.
In appeal, the High Court primarily observed that on the date of the alleged incident, the victim was aged about 17 years as per the birth certificate. However, the certificate appeared to have been registered only in 2019 and it was obtained only after the registration of the FIR. Thus, there was no evidence regarding the authenticity of the certificate. Additionally, the High Court noted that the victim did not disclose anything with regard to the act of intercourse when her statement under Section 164 of CrPC was recorded.
Subsequently, the Bench reiterated, "It is a cardinal principle of criminal jurisprudence that in an acquittal appeal if other view is possible, then also, the appellate Court cannot substitute its own view by reversing the acquittal into conviction, unless the findings of the trial Court are perverse, contrary to the material on record, palpably wrong, manifestly erroneous or demonstrably unsustainable."
Keeping in view these omissions, the Bench upheld the acquittal of the Accused.
Case No.: R/CR.MA/15092/2022
Case Title: STATE OF GUJARAT v/s PRATAP PRABHURAM DEVASI
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 346
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