The Delhi High Court recently upheld a 12-year jail sentence to a man who raped his minor daughter. A bench of Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav said the testimonies of the child, her mother and her sister, so far as the incident was concerned, were consistent and did not suffer from any apparent inconsistencies.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by a convict, who was sentenced rigorous imprisonment for 12 years with a fine of Rs 10,000, under Section 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
The counsel, appearing for the convict, argued that the conviction and sentence passed by the trial court deserved to be set aside. It was argued that the court did not appreciate the evidence in a proper perspective and there were contradictions and omissions in the evidence of prosecution witnesses.
It was further argued that testimonies of the child survivor, mother, and sister were different from each other. It was also contended that there were discrepancies regarding the persons sleeping in the room, where the incident took place.
The counsel also indicated that the minor girl’s testimony stated that her mother had told her to teach a lesson to her father as he was a drunk and physically abused them.
The additional public prosecutor submitted that offences committed by the convict were heinous in nature and, therefore, the trial court had rightly convicted him.
It also stated that the forensic report indicated that there was presence of semen in articles recovered from the child and the convict. Besides, the child had given her testimony against the convict.
The bench observed that the statement under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was recorded much before the production of the forensic report and, therefore, the incriminating evidence was not put before the convict. While the substantial right of the convict stood violated by not putting the incriminating evidence before him, it should not be a ground to dismiss an otherwise reliable prosecution case. It also said the conviction could not be interfered with on the ground of inconsistencies in the evidence of the child survivor.
The bench, while relying on the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of ‘State of Punjab v Gurmit Singh & Ors’, stated, “Minor contradictions or insignificant discrepancies in the statement of a prosecutrix should not be a ground for throwing out an otherwise reliable prosecution case. Evidence of the victim of sexual assault is enough for conviction and does not require corroboration unless there are compelling reasons for seeking corroboration.”
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