Today’s Latest Allahabad High Court Judgment is of the Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court, whereby the Criminal Appeal filed by Mr Gurpreet and Balvinder, convicted under Section 376(2)g I.P.C. and were serving life sentences, has been allowed by the Allahabad High Court.
Brief Facts of the case:- Gurpreet alias Sodi vs State of U.P. and Balbindra alias Bagga vs the State of U.P.
The appellants, in this case, were accused of committing a rape. As per the account of the victim, she went to attend nature’s call 07.06.2009 at around 8 P.M. The victim stated that she was abducted by Gurpreet alias Sodi and two others and was taken to a field where she was raped by all the accused.
The victim stated that the accused ran away after raping her, and she gained consciousness the next morning. She was able to reach the Husainpur village and tried contacting her father but was unsuccessful. Thereafter, she contacted one Sanjay Singh who contacted the father of the accused who retrieved her from the village.
As per her statement, the accused Gurpreet called her on 08.06.2020 and threatened her of dire consequences if she approached the authorities. However, the victim gathered courage and approached the police on 11.06.2020, and an F.I.R. was filed on the same day and the accused Gurpreet and two others.
A medical examination was conducted, and the report stated that “smear found to be negative for spermatozoa” The doctor also noted that her Hymen was old torn. As per the report she had some abrasions on her body as well.
Proceedings before the trial court
When her statement was recorded before the Judicial Magistrate, she named the second appellant in this case, Mr Gurpreet, as one of the unknown people who raped her. Charges under Section 376(2)g and 506(2) of I.P.C. were framed against them both.
During the trial, many witnesses were examined by the Court and subsequently, the accused (appellants in this) were convicted and sentenced.
Aggrieved by order of the trial court, the accused filed this instant appeal before the Allahabad High Court.
Contentions raised by the appellants before the High Court.
The learned senior counsel, Mr Dharmendra Singhal raised seven main contentions before the Court:-
- There was a delay of five days in filing of the F.I.R. which has not been satisfactorily explained.
- He contended that the victim’s father was pressurizing the accused to sell his land; that is why he was falsely implicated. The co accused’s name was taken as he was supporting the accused no,1
- Victim identified the accused after nine days of lodging the F.I.R. even though he was known to the victim. The place where the crime was committed was also changed in the victim’s statement.
- Even the medical examination was inclusive regarding the occurrence of rape.
- The victim claimed she called from Husainpur village, which was 8 km from the place where the alleged crime occurred. However, there were six villages in between, and she could have sought help from any of those.
- The trial court should not have convicted the accused based solely on the victim’s statement.
- The counsel referred to Supreme Court Judgement in Santosh Prasad @ Santosh Kumar vs The State of Bihar where it was held that “in a case where evidence of prosecutrix does not inspire confidence and appears to be untrustworthy and blemished and is not of sterling quality, it would not safe to convict accused only on solitary evidence of prosecutrix”.
Arguments raised by State( Respondents)
- The council stated that there was a delay in filing F.I.R. as accused no.1 Gurpreet had threatened the victim.
- They also contended that as the victim gained consciousness near the Husainpur village, she called from there.
- They also referred to the testimony of Dr Keshav Swami where he said that the injuries found on the victim’s body might be caused because of rape.
- As per the counsel, the defence was unable to prove their case, and the trial court judge had rightly convicted them.
The Reasoning of the Allahabad High Court
The Hon’ble Judges opined that as most of the villagers already knew of the crime, the victim couldn’t have been intimidated by the accused and delay in filing of the fir should not have occurred. As per the Court, the delay in filing might have been used by the victim to concoct a story against the accused.
It was also noted that the Balbinder, appellant no.2 was only implicated after 19 days and it was established that the victim had already known the accused before the occurrence of the alleged crime so she should have recognized beforehand and this shows that he might be falsely implicated.
On the issue that if the victim was a sterling witness, the Court noted the fact that her statement given during chief was different, and she changed her story when she was cross-examined. The Court also noted the fact that the medical report was inconclusive.
The Decision of the Court
After going through all the facts and evidence, the Court opined “In the present case the accused have given their version of false implication and prior acquaintance, supported by defence witnesses, which is a plausible version but neither the prosecution has negate such evidence nor the Trial Court has analyzed it properly. This is also a reason to allow these appeals.”
The order of the trial court was set aside, and the appeals were allowed,
Case Title: Gurpreet alias Sodi vs State of U.P. and Balbindra alias Bagga vs the State of U.P.
Case No.: CRIMINAL APPEAL No. – 6966 of 2010 and CRIMINAL APPEAL No. – 7153 of 2010
Date of Order: 23.09.2020
Quorum: Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ramesh Sinha & Hon’ble Mr. Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery
Appearance: Counsel of Appelant No.1 Devendra Saini, Dharmendra Singhal, Gaurav Kakkar, Govind Saran Hajela, Nafees Ahmad, Noor Mohammad, Rajeev Pandey, Vinay Kumar Sharma ; Counsel for Appellant No.2 :- Jitendra Kumar Shishodiya,Anurag Pathak,Govind Saran Hajela,Kameshwar Singh ; Counsel for Respondent :- Govt.Advocate, P.S.Pundir