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Supreme Court upholds conviction of man accused of raping mentally-ill woman

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The Supreme Court on Thursday said a person suffering from a mental disorder or mental sickness deserves special care, love, and affection and is not to be exploited, while upholding the conviction of a man accused of raping a mentally-ill woman.

The Apex Court has held that the High Court was justified in re appreciating the entire evidence on record and in reversing the order of acquittal passed by the trial court resulting in the conviction of the accused of offences under Section 376 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

A three-judge Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Ashok Reddy and M.R. Shah observed that being the first appellate Court, the High Court was justified in re appreciating the entire evidence on record and Trial Court’s reasoning and also acted within the parameters of law laid down in the Apex Court in its previous decisions.

In the present matter, the prosecutrix, a 19-year-old woman, had alleged that the accused had sexual intercourse with her forcibly without her consent and threatened her not to disclose the incident to anyone. The prosecutrix did not disclose the incident to anyone due to fear and due to forgetting the same because of mental weakness, but informed her mother three-four months later. In her medical examination, it was found that she was carrying a pregnancy of 31 weeks and after the child was born, a DNA test proved that it belonged to the accused.

The trial court acquitted the accused on ground of delay in lodging the FIR and the prosecutrix not being mentally unsound to understand the consequences and what was happening. The State then challenged the Trial Court’s order before the High Court, which reversed the order of acquittal and convicted the accused after re-appreciation of the entire evidence, particularly the medical evidence. The accused then moved in appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court in its judgment has observed that the High Court has already taken a lenient view by imposing a minimum sentence of seven years of regular imprisonment. It is a case of sexual assault on a victim whose IQ was 62 and was mentally retarded, and the accused took undue advantage of the mental illness of the victim. A person suffering from a mental disorder or mental sickness deserves special care, love, and affection and is not to be exploited. In the present case, the accused exploited the victim by taking advantage of her mental illness. Therefore, no interference of the Apex Court is required against the High Court’s order of conviction.

The Apex Court opined that in consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court was justified and did not commit any error in reversing the order of acquittal passed by the trial court, resulting in conviction of the accused for offences under Section 376 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. 

The High Court being the first appellate Court was justified in re appreciating the entire evidence on record and Trial Court’s reasoning and also acted within the parameters of law laid down in the Apex Court in its previous decisions.

Read Also: HIV-positive person can’t be convicted of attempt to murder if he has sex with or assaults partner: Delhi HC

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