The Delhi High Court has acquitted a man convicted under Section 4 of the POCSO Act, dealing with punishment for penetrative sexual assault, on the grounds of inconsistencies in the statement made by the prosecutrix.
A single-judge bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru noted,
“It would be unsafe to convict the appellant without any material to corroborate her testimony.”
The appeal has been filed by Kumod Mishra challenging the order of the Trial Court convicting him under Section 376(2)(n) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4 of the POCSO Act while sentencing to undergo 10 years of rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 20,000.
The bench referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Rai Sandeep @ Deepu v. State (NCT of Delhi) where the Apex Court set out the qualities of a sterling witness. The Supreme Court had said that the consistency between the statements recorded earlier and the testimony of such solitary witnesses is one of the objective criteria to determine whether such testimony of a sole witness could be considered as one of unimpeachable quality.
In furtherance to which the bench stated,
“There is no dispute that the testimony of a sole witness is sufficient to return a verdict of conviction. However, it is necessary that such evidence must be of unimpeachable quality.”
The bench acquitted Mishra while stating that it is unable to accept that standard of proof to convict the appellant has been met in this case.VIB06042021CRLA7162017_172834