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'Victim Could Not Understand The Good And Bad': Supreme Courts Upholds Conviction Of Man Accused Of Raping A Mentally Disabled Girl

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
4 Dec 2020 6:31 AM GMT
Victim Could Not Understand The Good And Bad: Supreme Courts Upholds Conviction Of Man Accused Of Raping A Mentally Disabled Girl
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The Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a man accused of raping a mentally disabled girl with low IQ.Chaman Lal, the accused, was acquitted by the Trial Court mainly on the ground of delay in lodging the FIR and also on the ground that the prosecutrix was not mentally unsound to understand the consequences and what was happening. In appeal, on reappreciating the entire evidence...

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The Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a man accused of raping a mentally disabled girl with low IQ.

Chaman Lal, the accused, was acquitted by the Trial Court mainly on the ground of delay in lodging the FIR and also on the ground that the prosecutrix was not mentally unsound to understand the consequences and what was happening. In appeal, on reappreciating the entire evidence on record, the High Court concluded that the IQ of the prosecutrix was 62 and that she had mild mental retardation. The High Court sentenced him to undergo seven years R.I. with fine of Rs. 10,000/­ and in default of payment of fine, further six months R.I. under Section 376 IPC and four years R.I. with fine of Rs.5,000/­ and in default of payment of fine, further three months R.I. under Section 506 IPC.

Before the Apex Court, the accused contended that the FIR was filed only as a vengeful act by the father of the Prosecuterix for refusing to marry her. He contended that he was not in a position to marry the prosecutrix as he was married and was having the children of his own.

While considering the appeal filed by accused, the Apex Court bench noted that there is not in dispute that the accused had sexually intercourse with the victim and that the victim delivered a baby child and that the accused is found to be the biological father of the baby child delivered by the victim.

The court further noted that the deposition of doctors revealed that the IQ of the victim was 62 which was based on the history and mental state examination of the victim. Agreeing with the findings of the High Court, the bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah said:

"The High Court has also come to the conclusion that the victim was not in a position to understand the good and bad aspect of the sexual assault. Merely because the victim was in a position to do some household works cannot discard the medical evidence that the victim had mild mental retardation and she was not in a position to understand the good and bad aspect of sexual assault. It appears that the accused had taken disadvantage of the mental illness of the victim. It is required to be appreciated coupled with the fact that the accused is found to be the biological father of the baby child delivered by the victim. Despite the above, in his 313 statement the case of the accused was of a total denial. It was never the case of the accused that it was a case of consent. Therefore, considering the evidence on record, more particularly the deposition of PW11 and PW22 and even the deposition of the other prosecution witnesses, the High Court has rightly observed that case would fall under Section 375 IPC and has rightly convicted the accused for the offence under Section 376 IPC. Even as per clause fifthly of Section 375 IPC, "a man is said to commit rape", if with her consent when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind, is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent. As observed hereinabove, even it is not the case on behalf of the accused that it was a case of consent. On evidence, it has been established and proved that the victim was mentally retarded and her IQ was 62 and she was not in a position to understand the good and bad aspect of sexual assault. The accused has taken disadvantage of the mental sickness and low IQ of the victim."

The court further noted that, IQ 62 falls in the category of 'mild mental retardation' and that the mental status and IQ are determined on the basis of the injuries and activities. "IQ of a person can be known on the basis of the questions, activities and the history of a patient. Therefore, even if there might be some contradictions with respect to language known by the victim, in that case also, it cannot be said to be the major contradictions to disbelieve the entire medical evidence on the mental status of the victim", it said. Refusing to interfere with the sentence imposed by the High Court, the bench said:

"It is required to be noted that it is a case of sexual assault on a victim whose IQ was 62 and was mentally retarded and that 23 accused has taken undue advantage of the mental sickness/illness of the victim. A person suffering from mental disorder or mental sickness deserves special care, love and affection. They are not to be exploited. In the present case, the accused has exploited the victim by taking disadvantage of her mental sickness/illness. Therefore, no interference of this Court against the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court convicting the accused is called for."
Case: Chaman Lal vs. State of Himachal Pradesh [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1229 OF 2017] 
Coram: Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah

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