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“Testimony of the Prosecutrix is creditworthy, reliable & has a Ring of Truth in it, which itself is sufficient to establish the case of the prosecution”, said Delhi HC while dismissing a plea filed by father, guilty of rape of her own innocent minor daughter.

Delhi High Court upheld the order of trial court by which it convicted and sentenced life imprisonment to a man, guilty of rape of her own minor daughter and making her pregnant.

A bench of Justices Mr Siddharth Mridul and Mr Manoj Kumar Ohri said, “sole testimony of the prosecutrix is sufficient by itself to sustain the conviction of appellant (Father) as is reliable and has a ring of truth in it”.

“…we are of the view that the testimony of the prosecutrix, which has remained un-shattered and uncontroverted despite sustained cross-examination, is creditworthy and reliable and has ring of truth in it; and further, although there is no gainsaying the legal position that her testimony by itself is sufficient to establish the case of the prosecution, in the present case, the prosecutrix’s testimony is materially corroborated by the other evidence on record. We have, therefore, no hesitation in saying that the cogent and clear evidence on record, leads to but one inescapable conclusion, that of the guilt of the appellant”, said the bench.

The court’s decision came while it was hearing an appeal preferred by the accused father (appellant), challenging the order of trial court wherein he was sentenced ‘life imprisonment’ under section 376/506 IPC (Punishment for Rape & Criminal Intimidation) and under section 6/10 (Punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act (POCSO). The gravamen of the charge, for which the appellant has been convicted, is for having committed penetrative sexual assault on his daughter, the prosecutrix, a girl aged about 15 years, at the time of commission of the offence.

Court rejected the contention of the appellant’s counsel who submitted that the testimony of the prosecutrix riddled with contradictions and discrepancies, when appreciated in conjunction with the testimony of her Bua. He argued that the testimony of the prosecutrix was neither creditworthy nor of the sterling quality, necessary to sustain the conviction. Court said, “The law enunciated qua the conviction of an accused for an offence of aggravated penetrative sexual assault, on the basis of the sole testimony of the prosecutrix, is fairly well settled in the case of Gugan v. State (Govt of NCT of Delhi).

In the background of the case, a complaint was lodged by the Man’s sister in 2013 when prosecutrix told her about father’s act. Prosecutrix informed her that her father had been establishing physical relations with her for the last one year by threatening her and she had become pregnant. When the complainant confronted the accused about the same, he fled away from the house with his younger daughter. On the basis of the complaint, FIR under Sections 376/506 IPC was registered against the accused (appellant). The prosecutrix was medically examined on the same day. She was found to be having pregnancy of 28 weeks. Her statement under Section 164 Cr.P.C. was recorded. In her statement, she supported the contents of FIR and disclosed that she had told about the acts of the accused to her mother but she did not do anything as she was of unsound mind.

The accused in his statement before the Police denied the allegation and claimed he had been falsely implicated in the case and stated that he reprimanded the prosecutrix for having an affair with a boy, living in the neighbourhood, the police at the instigation of the complainant, her sister, who had grudge against him for refusing to give her a share in his ancestral property, foisted the false case against him.

However court rejected it and said, “It’s completely untenable and vacuous, inasmuch as, the identity of the boy has not been disclosed at any stage nor has any material been produced on the record to substantiate the defence”.

“…Lastly, the asseverations made on behalf of the appellant that; owing to the circumstance that the DNA test report of the baby delivered by the prosecutrix could not be procured, the prosecution has failed to conclusively prove their case; is devoid of merit for the reason that, although the blood sample of the baby had been sent to FSL for ascertaining the paternity, no result could be obtained since the same was found to be putrefied. In the meantime, the baby born to the prosecutrix had been given in adoption and it was not considered advisable or necessary in the interest of the child, to obtain fresh blood sample”, said the Court.

“The above lapse on the part of the investigating agency does not have the effect of effacing, otherwise reliable and trustworthy testimony of the prosecutrix”, it added.

Court also rejected the reliance placed by the appellant on the decision in Dinesh Yadav Vs State (NCT of Delhi)  to urge that the appellant, as the father of the prosecutrix could not committed such a heinous offence of rape upon his own daughter, contending its misplaced and mis-conceived, in view of the clear and unequivocal evidence on record, in the present case.

– India Legal Bureau

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