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Rajasthan High Court
Satpal Alias Satnam Singh vs State Of Rajasthan on 2 August, 2000
Equivalent citations: 2001 CriLJ 564, 2000 (4) WLC 629, 2001 (1) WLN 98
Author: S K Garg
Bench: S K Garg


JUDGMENT

Sunil Kumar Garg, J.

1. The above-named accused-appellant has preferred this appeal from Jail against the judgment and order dated 2-8-1999 passed by the learned Special Additional Sessions Judge (Women Atrocities) Court, Sri Ganganagar, in Sessions Case No. 16/98 by which he convicted the accused-appellant for the offence under Section 376, I.P.C. and sentenced to 7 years’ R.I. and a fine of Rs. 2,000/-, in default of payment of fine, to undergo 6 months’ R.I.

Note :- That since this appeal has been preferred by the accused-appellant, Satpal alias Satnam Singh, from Jail and he was not represented by any counsel, therefore, Shri D.K. Gaur, Advocate, was appointed by this Court as an Amicus Curiae to assist the Court and argue this appeal on behalf of the accused-appellant.

2. It arises in the following circumstances :-

P.W. 2 Mukhtiyar Singh lodged a report Ex. P/4 in the Police Station, Gharsana district Sri Ganganagar on 9-9-1997 before PW-8 Jeewan Ram, S.H.O. Police Station Gharsana stating inter alia that he and his son Sukhvinder Singh and brother Sucha Singh went to Baba Ram Deo Mela on 31-8-1997, and, when they were there, his younger brother Sukh Deo Singh, PW-4 came there and informed that in the evening of 4-9-1997 at about 5.30 p.m. when his daughter PW-1 Baljeet Kaur was cutting grass in the field, accused appellant came there and caught hold of her hands and put her on the ground and after pressing her mouth, he opened the nada of her salwar and committed rape on her. When PW-1 Baljeet Kaur cried, PW-4, Sukh Deo Singh, younger brother of PW-2 Mukhtiyar Singh and Bhabhee of PW-2 Mukhtiyar Singh reached on the spot and on seeing them, the accused-appellant ran away. It is further stated by PW-2 Mukhtiyar Singh in his report that he reached at his house on 8-9-1997 and thereafter he was also informed about the incident by his daughter PW-1 Baljeet Kaur and wife PW-3 Balvinder Kaur and then, the report has been lodged.

On this report, the police registered a case and chalked out the FIR and started investigation. During investigation, site plan Ex. P1 was prepared and Salwar was seized through Ex. P. 2 and some pieces of broken bangles were also seized through Ex. P. 3 and accused-appellant was medically examined and his Medical Report is Ex. P. 7 regarding potency. PW-1 Baljeet Kaur was also medically examined by Pvv-9 Dr. Chandra Bhan Middha and her Medical Report is Ex. P 13. After usual investigation, a challan was filed against the accused- appellant for the offence under Section 376, I.P.C. in the Court of Magistrate from where the case was committed to the Court of Session.

The learned Special Additional Sessions Judge (Women Atrocities), Sri Ganganagar, vide his order dated 31-3-1998 framed charge for the offence under Section 376, I.P.C. against the accused-appellant, who pleaded not guilty and claimed for trial. In support of its case, the prosecution examined as many as 9 witnesses and exhibited some documents and thereafter, the statement of accused-appellant under Section 313, Cr.P.C. was recorded.

After completion of trial, the learned Special Additional Sessions Judge (Women Atrocities), Sri Ganganagar vide his judgment and order dated 21-8-1999 convicted the accused-appellant under Section 376, I.P.C. and sentenced as stated above, holding inter alia :-

1. That accused-appellant has committed the offence under Section 376, I.P.C.

2. That if some infirmities are found in the investigation of the police, in such cases, doubt should not be created on the statement of the prosecutrix, PW-1 Baljeet Kaur.

3. That argument that the accused-appellant has been falsely implicated in this case because of the enmity between PW-2 Mukhtiyar Singh and the accused-appellant Satpal, is not tenable.

Aggrieved from the said Judgment and Order dated 21-8-1999 passed by the learned Special Additional Sessions Judge (Women Atrocities), Sri Ganganagar, this appeal has been preferred by the accused-appellant from Jail.

3. In this appeal, the learned Amicus Curiae for the accused-appellant has made the the following submissions :-

1. That in this case the incident has taken place on 4-9-1997 and the report has been lodged on 9-9-1997. Thus, there is a considerable delay in lodging the report and, therefore, the case of the prosecution is doubtful and it should not be accepted and the accused-appellant should be acquitted of the charge framed against him.

2. That the accused appellant has been falsely implicated in this case due to enmity between the father of the prosecutrix Mukhtiyar Singh, PW-2 and the accusedappellant.

3. That in the present case, there was some infirmities in the investigation conducted by the police and, therefore, on this ground, the accused-appellant be acquitted of the charge under Section 376, IPC.

4. On the other hand, learned Public Prosecutor and the learned counsel for the complainant has supported the impugned judgment and order passed by the learned Special Additional Sessions Judge.

5. I have heard the learned Amicus Curiae and the learned Public Prosecutor as well as the learned counsel for the complainant and perused the record of the case.

6. Before proceeding further something should be said whether the corroboration is essential in rape cases before convicting accused person.

7. The rule, which according to cases has hardened into one of law, is not that corroboration is essential before there can be conviction but that the necessity of corroboration, as a matter of prudence, except where circumstances make it safe to dispense with it, must be present in the mind of the Judge and must have been incorporated in the judgment. If the evidence of the prosecutrix does not suffer from the basic infirmity and the probabilities factor does not render it unworthy of credence, as a general rule, corroboration should not be insisted upon. In the end, it may be stated that corroboration of the testimony of the prosecutrix in rape cases is not required as a rule of law.

8. Looking to the above principles of law, the facts of the present case are being examined.

9. Before proceeding further, I would like to first discuss the medical evidence in this case.

10. The injury report of prosecurtrix PW- 1 Baljeet Kaur is Ex. P. 13 and Dr. Chandra Bhan Middha PW-9 has been produced on behalf of the prosecutrix and he has found four abrasions on the left hand of PW-1 Baljeet Kaur and that she was examined by him on 9-9-1997. He has proved the injury report Ex. P. 13.

11. The alleged victim of rape in this case is PW-1 Baljeet Kaur. She has stated in her statement that on the date of occurrence, her father PW-2 Mukhityar Singh was out of station and in the evening when she was cutting grass in the field, accused-appellant Satpal came there and caught hold of her hands and put her on the ground and broken the nada of her salwar and committed rape on her and he also shut the mouth. She further states that when she cried, PW-4 Sukhdeo Singh came there and accused- appellant ran away from the place of occurrence on seeing him. She further states that she was wearing bangles in her hands and in the incident her glass bangles were broken in pieces and she got abrasions on her hands. She has been cross-examined at length and one fact has been admitted by her in her cross-examination, which is that the mother of the accused-appellant has filed a criminal case against the family of the prosecutrix etc.

12. P.W. 2 Mukhtiyar Singh, who is father of PW-1 Baljeet Kaur, has narrated the whole story how he was informed after coming from Baba Ram Deo Mela and thereafter he has lodged report Ex. P. 4. He also admitted in his cross-examination that when he came on 8-9-1997, he consulted with his family members and knowing that civil dispute is there between accused party and complainant party, it was decided that the report-should be lodged about the commission of the rape.’

13. P.W. 3 Balvinder Kaur is the mother of the prosecutrix PW-1 Baljeet Kaur and she has stated in her cross-examination that PW-1 Baljeet Kaur narrated the whole story that has taken place with her.

14. P.W. 4 Sukhdeo Singh is the uncle of PW-1 Baljeet Kaur. He has also stated that how he informed PW-2 Mukhtiyar Singh, father of PW-1 Baljeet Kaur. He has admitted in cross examination the fact about the dispute with accused-appellant.

15. In my opinion, on the above facts, the statement of PW-1 Baljeet Kaur that accused committed rape on her forcibly on 4-9-1997 in the evening in the field should be accepted. The statement of PW-1 Baljeet Kaur is corroborated by the statement of PW-9 Dr. Chandra Bhan Middha, who has stated that PW-1 Baljeet Kaur has got four abrasions on her hands. She has also narrated the whole story about the commission of the crime by accused-appellant, to her mother PW-3 Balvinder Kaur just after the occurrence. The statement of PW-1 Baljeet Kaur is further corroborated by the statement of PW-4 Sukhdeo Singh. PW-4 Sukhdeo Singh is the witness who came on the spot when PW-1 Baljeet Kaur cried. Therefore, the evidence of PW-1 Baljeet Kaur in these circumstances appears to be reliable and reliance should be placed on her statement.

16. The main argument of the learned counsel for the accused-appellant is that there is a delay of 4-5 days in lodging the report and, therefore, the case of the prosecution should be thrown out.

17. Before proceeding further, something should be said about the delay in lodging reports in rape cases.

DELAY IN LODGING REPORT :

18. There are some duties cast on the Court when it deals with the rape cases. In rape cases, the Court must bear in mind the human psychology and behavioural probability when assessing the testimonial potency of the victim’s (prosecutrix ) version.

19. In Karnel Singh v. State of M.P. AIR 1995 SC 2472, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held as under :-

Penal Code (45 of 1860), Section 375 – Offence of rape – Complaint lodged less than promptly – Delay in lodging complaints in such cases in India does not raise inference that complaint was false – Reluctance to go to police is because of society’s attitude towards such women, victims.

20. Similarly in State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh AIR 1996 SC 1393 : (1996 Cri LJ 1728), the Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed as under :-

(B) Criminal P.C. (1974), Section 154 – Sexual offences – Delay in lodging FIR – Not material when properly explained. “Penal Code” (1860), Section 376.

In sexual offences delay in lodging of the FIR can be due to variety of reasons particularly the reluctance of the prosecutrix or her family members to go to the police and complain about the incident which concerns the reputation of the prosecutrix and the honour of her family. It is, only after giving it a cool thought that a complaint of sexual offence is generally lodged. Even if there is some delay in lodging FIR in respect of offence of rape, if it is properly explained and the explanation is natural in the facts and circumstances of the case, such delay would not matter.

21. In this respect, the latest authority of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in State of Rajasthan v. N.K. 2000 AIR SCW 1407 : (2000 Cri LJ 2205) may be seen.

22. Looking to the above guidelines, it may be stated here that in the present case PW-2 Mukhtiyar Singh, who is father of the prosecurtix PW-1 Baljeet Kaur in this report Ex. P 4, has clearly explained the delay in lodging report of the present case. There is no doubt in this case that PW-2 Mukhiyar Singh, father of the prosecutrix, on the date of the alleged incident was not in his native place but was out of station and he came there only on 8-9-1997 from the Baba Ramdeo Mela and on the next day the report has been lodged. Thus, such type of delay cannot be considered to be fatal for prosecutrix story especially when in the present case, statement of PW-1 Baljeet Kaur (prosecutrix), as stated above, gets corroboration from the statements of other prosecution witnesses also.

23. Therefore, it is held that the delay in lodging report in the present case is not fatal and has been explained by the prosecution. Thus, the argument that since there is a delay in lodging the report, the prosecution case should not be accepted, is rejected.

24. The next argument is that there is a litigation between the accused party and the complainant party and the accused-appellant has been falsely implicated in this case because of enmity.

25. No doubt from the statements of PW-1 Baljeet Kaur and PW-4 Sukhdeo Singh, it is well established that litigation between accused party and complaint party is going on, but it is wrong to suggest that because of the litigation or any enmity which PW-2 Mukhtiyar Singh has, he would falsely involve his daughter in a case of rape with accused-appellant.

26. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Balwant Singh v. State of Punjab AIR 1987 SC 1080 : (1987 Cri LJ 971) has held as under :-

To suggest that because of enmity of the father of the prosecutrix against the accused, the accused had been falsely implicated is an absurdity.

27. Similarly in Prithi Chand v. State of Himachal Pradesh AIR 1989 SC 702 : (1989 Cri LJ 841), the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held as under :-

(D) Evidence Act (1 of 1872), Section 3 – Witness – Credibility – Offence of rape – Prosecutrix and her parents would not allow real culprit to escape and falsely involve innocent person in commission of crime. (Penal Code (1860), Section 375).

28. Thus, the argument that accused-appellant has been falsely implicated in this case due to enmity, is wholly untenable and the same is rejected.

29. The last argument is that since there was some infirmities in the investigation conducted by the police, therefore, accused-appellant should be acquitted on this ground.

30. No doubt there may be infirmities in the investigation conducted by PW-8 Jeewan Ram S.H.O. but it is not a ground to acquit the accused in rape case, for that Karnel Singh v. State of M.P. (supra) may be seen where the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held as under :-

(A) Penal Code (45 of 1860), Section 375- Offence of rape – Appreciation of evidence – Defective investigation – Loopholes in investigation left designedly to help accused at the cost of poor prosecutrix, a labourer – Acquitting accused solely on that ground – Not justified – It would be adding insult to injury.

31. Thus, the last argument that since there was some infirmities in the investigation conducted by the police, the accused-appellant be acquitted, also fails and is rejected.

32. For the reasons mentioned above, the findings recorded by the learned Special Additional Sessions Judge (Women Atrocities), Sri Ganganagar convicting the accused-appellant for the offence under Section 376, IPC are liable to be upheld and the appeal of the accused-appellant is liable to be dismissed.

Accordingly, the appeal of the accused-appellant Satpal alias Satnam Singh is dismissed, after affirming the judgment and order dated 21-8-1999 passed by the learned Special Additional Sessions Judge (Women Atrocities), Sri Ganganagar, in Sessions Case No. 16/98.


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