SC Reduces Jail Sentence Of Rape Accused ‘Uncle’ Who Married Prosecutrix Soon After Alleged Incident [Read Order]
In the given peculiar facts and circumstance of the case and to alleviate any further suffering of the prosecutrix, we are inclined to modify the sentence of the appellant to the period already undergone, exercising our jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, the bench said.
The Supreme Court recently invoked its inherent powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to modify sentence of a rape accused to the period already undergone, to alleviate any further suffering of the prosecutrix, who had married him soon after the alleged incident.
The brother of a girl lodged an FIR alleging his sister, who is aged below 16, had informed him that she was raped by her uncle Elumalai. Though during the cross-examination, the prosecutrix admitted to the fact that she wanted to marry the accused, the trial court found him guilty of the offence under Section 376 IPC and sentenced him to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment.
In the meanwhile, they got married and also have a child.Madras High Court Judgment
Rejecting the contention taken by the accused before the High Court that during the course of cross-examination, the prosecutrix has clearly admitted to the effect that she has intended to marry the accused, the bench had observed: “Of course, it is true that the prosecutrix has given such kind of evidence. In the instant case, specific contention put forth on the side of the prosecution is that during occurrence, the prosecutrix has not attained even age of 16 years. Considering the age of prosecutrix, the admission made by her would not impinge the case of the prosecution.”
The high court also dismissed the appeal.
Both, the accused and the prosecutrix approached the apex court by filing SLPs and stated that they were living happily and the continued incarceration of Elumalai in jail would cause immense hardship and sufferings to the prosecutrix and she would have to bring up the child alone.
“The appellant and the prosecutrix both state that they were living happily and it is the say of the prosecutrix that the continued incarceration of the appellant in jail would cause immense hardship and sufferings to her and she would have to bring up the child alone. We are also informed that the father of the appellant/accused, in order to secure the future of the couple and their child, has settled the cultivable land measuring 20 cents in favour of the prosecutrix. The appellant has been in custody for less than 4 years”
The bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar observed: “We are undoubtedly faced with a dilemma whether sending the appellant/accused behind bars for 10 years would cause a greater trauma to the sufferer, the prosecutrix. The fact that the brother of the prosecutrix made the complaint, and that the marriage took place immediately after the alleged incident, does show that there was a relationship between the two, albeit the prosecutrix was underage.”
Invoking the inherent powers to reduce the sentence to period already undergone, the bench said: “We expect that the appellant will take full care of both the wife and the child.”Read the Order Here