New Delhi: The Delhi High Court, finding many inconsistencies in the testimony and statements made by the prosecutrix and her witnesses, as well as finding that medical evidence provided was insufficient, has acquitted a man convicted under Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) and Sections 376/506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 for allegedly raping and threatening to kill the minor victim.
The appeal was filed by the accused himself, against claims made by the prosecutrix at different times during the investigation and the examination-in-chief alleging that the accused tried to sexually assault her. The appellant/accused claimed that there were inconsistencies in the statement and the evidences were not sufficient to substantiate the allegation that the accused had committed the offence.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru passed the acquittal orders, holding that, given the evidence and material on record, the standard of proof to convict the appellant has not been met. The appeal is, accordingly, allowed. The appellant is acquitted. “He is directed to be released forthwith,” said the court.
The appellant (accused) contended that the trial court erred in not taking into account the testimony of relevant witnesses to the case also not appreciating that there was a dispute regarding the property where the appellant and the prosecutrix resided where she was tutored to falsely implicate the appellant to put pressure on him to leave the said property.
The counsel has sought to challenge the lower court’s judgment convicting the accused for 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.
The High Court has observed that there was no meaningful investigation conducted by the police and the investigating officer did not seem to have any idea about the place of alleged offence. There seems nothing to corroborate the statement of the prosecutrix and the witnesses to the case. The procecutix is a child who could easily be persuaded by any family member. The High Court has also observed that there was some property dispute between the family members that changes the outlook of the case.
The High Court added, “It is settled law that the solitary testimony of a victim is sufficient for convicting the accused provided the testimony is unimpeachable and trustworthy. It should be reliable so as to establish that the accused had committed the offence beyond any reasonable doubt.”
The High Court quoted the apex court’s judgments regarding the attributes of a sterling witness and is of the view that the testimony of the prosecutrix cannot be accepted as that of one.
Read the Judgment here;VIB21082020CRLA8002016_224059-1
– India Legal Bureau