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In another case of the “whimsical” attitude that many lower court judges have been seen to use in deciding on cases, the Delhi High Court last week set aside a trial court order on rape, calling it “illegal and perverse”.

A man who had allegedly raped a woman and inserted wooden sticks into her private parts, leading to her death, was tried only for rape by an additional sessions judge despite repeated pleas from the police to frame charges of murder against the man. The lower court in its August 29, 2016 order had denied the prosecution’s request for framing additional charges of murder against the accused under IPC Section 302, say reports.

Justice Vinod Goel called the sessions judge’s ruling a “grave error” which led to “failure of justice”. The High court, in setting aside the ASJ’s order, directed to charge the man for murder too. The court agreed with the additional public prosecutor’s contention that since the victim was the only eyewitness and the insertion of wooden stick to her private part would destroy the evidence of rape, it would be easier to prove the charges of murder against the accused based upon “nature of injuries, medical and last seen evidence”.

The High Court expressing its displeasure on the additional session’s judge’s ruling, said: “A cursory look at the post-mortem report shows that a case for murder under Section 302 of the IPC is prima facie made out. The impugned order (of August 29, 2016 of the sessions judge) is per se whimsical, illegal and perverse and speaks of non-application of judicial approach and grave error has been committed by the ASJ by which the failure of justice has in fact occasioned on account of non-framing of charge under Section 302 of the IPC.”

The High Court gave specific orders to the sessions judge on this. The order said: “The additional sessions judge is directed to frame an additional charge under section 302 of the IPC and commence the trial in accordance with law. It is directed that the trial shall be continued on a day to day basis and the ASJ shall conclude the trial within three months of receiving this order.”

—India Legal Bureau

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