In the present case, the two accused persons were convicted under sections 324, 366 and 376(1) and 376 D of the Indian Penal Code for raping a mentally ill woman. They were also sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for twenty years with a total fine of Rs 26000 which had to be paid as a compensation to the prosecutrix (the victim).
As they filed an appeal against the conviction, the Appellant Accused argued that they have been implicated under some confusion and that it was a case of mistaken identity. Moreover, it was pointed out by them that since the MLC report rule out the presence of spermatozoa on the vaginal swab, the possibility of vaginal penetration is ruled out. Moreover, there was an inordinate delay in lodging the FIR.
The court rejected the claim of the Appellant regarding the MLC report by saying that the seminal discharge is not important for the offence of rape to be proved. The apex court's decision in Pratap Mishra & Ors. vs. State of Orissa, (1977) 3 SCC 41.
The court also opined that the victim cannot be blamed for not lodging the FIR immediately considering her vulnerability and her mental condition. 'Being persons from marginalized and vulnerable section of society, the delay in approaching the police the next morning (i.e. 19.03.2019) cannot be fatal to the prosecution case', the court noted. It relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in Tulshidas Kanolkar vs. State of Goa; (2003) 8 SCC 590 which had a similar backdrop.
While rejecting there appeal, the court highlighted that when called upon to explain the incriminating circumstances both the appellants came up not merely with vague denials but also false and inherently contradictory narratives. Moreover, the court relied upon Rajinder vs. State of H.P., (2009) 16 SCC 69 to hold that conviction can be based on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix if it is implicitly reliable.
The court also confirmed the trial court's order on sentence and the quantum of fine.
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