of Rajasthan Vs. Ram Narain & Ors  INSC
113 (23 January 1996)
K.Ramaswamy, K.Ahmad Saghir S. (J) G.B. Pattanaik (J)
JT 1996 (2) 396 1996 SCALE (2)34
O R D
learned counsel on both sides.
rather curious that the learned Judge while confirming the conviction of the
three respondents, viz., Ram Narain, Bajrang Lal and Manja Ram, for offences
under Sections 376, 366 and 342, Indian Penal Code ["IPC", for short]
in respect of Ram Narain and under Sections 366 and 342, IPC in respect of
respondent Nos. 2 and 3, reduced their sentence to the period already
undergone, viz., one and a half months. Notice was issued by this Court against
the reduction of the sentence by the High Court.
facts are that on August
14, 1983 when victim
Anoop Devi aged between 15 and 17 years was coming from the house of her uncle
to her parents' house, these accused enticed her to believe that all the
women-folk had assembled at the outskirts of the village to go to Circus and
induced her to accompany them. Innocently believing their statement, she
accompanied them to the outskirts but did not find women- folk there. She was
taken at knife point to another village by name Siroha and from there to Jaipur
in a truck. In Jaipur, she was wrongfully confined in a house. From Jaipur, she
was taken to Murtipura where first accused-respondent had sexual intercourse
with her. She was wrongfully confined in that house. From there she was brought
back to her village and was confined in the house of the first accused.
coming to know of it, the father of the victim [PW 33 made a complaint to the
police and the police recovered her from the house of the first accused.
trial, five witnesses, viz., the victim [PW 1], her mother and father [PWs 2
and 3] and neighbors [PWs 4 and 5] were examined. The Sessions Judge after
appreciating the evidence and believing the evidence of PW 1, the victim, her
mother and father [PWs 2 and 3] and neighbours [PWs 4 and 5], convicted the
first accused for offence under Sections 376, 366 and 342 IPC and sentenced him
to undergo imprisonment for seven years, five years and one year respectively
and also imposed fine of Rs.200/-. Equally, the second and third accused were
convicted under Sections 366 and 342, IPC and sentenced to undergo imprisonment
for five years and one year respectively. All the sentences were directed to
run concurrently. The accused-respondents carried the matter in appeal and the
learned Judge had held that the evidence on record was sufficient to prove that
the prosecution has established its case without any room for doubt. However,
he reduced the sentence and allowed the appeal. He observed that the age af
first accused, viz.. 18 years, and the sentence of one and a half months which
he had already undergone, would be sufficient to meet the ends of justice.
Accordingly, the learned Judge held that justice would be met in case the
sentence was reduced to the period already undergone by them.
Kumar Jain, the learned counsel for the respondents contended that looking at
the evidence of the victim herself, the High Court was justified in reducing
the sentence. She is a consenting party and without independent corroboration,
her evidence would be suspect and could not be relied upon. The offence had
taken place on April
14, 1983 and the
report was lodged by the father of the victim on May 13, 1983, i.e., one month after the incident. It is unlikely that
had she not been the consenting party, report would have been lodged
immediately after abduction. PW 3 having allowed the daughter to remain in the
company of the first accused for one month and parents having taken no action,
the conduct would indicate against the prosecution and that the respondents had
no intention to commit any offence and the victim [PW 1] is a consenting party.
We fail to appreciate the stand of the victim which is proved from the evidence
of the doctor [PW5] that she is minor aged between 15 and 17 years. She is an
innocent village girl. From her evidence, we find intrinsic truth, and her to
be a truthful witness. No corroboration to her evidence is needed. The Court is
required in each case to consider whether the evidence of the prosecution
inspires confidence for acceptance. Each case has to be considered in its own
setting, facts and circumstances. In fact, had PW 1 an intention to falsely
implicate all the accused, nothing prevented her to state that the second and
third accused also had intercourse with her. The learned Sessions Judge was
greatly impressed by her frankness when she attributed the act of sexual
intercourse only to the first accused and none else. When she was induced to a
accompany them to a Circus along with women-folk she came to the outskirts of
the village and when she found none, she was frightened at knife point at her
throat and from the outskirts of the village the three accused took her to
different places. It would be difficult for an innocent girl to resist three
persons who took her from place to place and she could not have attempted to
escape from their clutches nor could she give any report to anybody. Naturally,
under the circumstances she had reconciled herself and given up remained in
their wrongful custody for more than one month.
evidence clearly indicates that she was wrongfully confined at different
places. Even after she was brought to the native place wrongfully confined in
the house of first accused. Thus the evidence brings home the guilt of offences
under Sections 364, 361 and also wrongful confinement 342.
regards offence under Section 376, her evidence is sufficient. That apart, we
also get corroboration from the medical evidence and the circumstantial
evidence, viz., the underwear of the first accused and peticot of the victim
establish the sexual intercourse the first accused had with the victim. The
victim being a minor, the question of her consent does not arise and,
therefore, the contention of Shri Sushil Kumar Jain that she was a consenting
party is absolutely unbelievable and untenable. Obviously, under the
circumstances, she had reconciled herself and to her fate and the first accused
had sexual intercourse and the offence under Section 376, IPC as against him is
question is: whether the High Court is right in reducing the sentence to the
period already undergone, i.e., one and a half month? We think that the High
Court has committed grave error of law in reducing the sentence.
the judgment of the High Court is set aside. The conviction of the first
accused is upheld and he is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 5
years under Section 376. Equally, all the three accused are convicted under
Section 366 to undergo sentence of five years under Sections 366 and one year
under Section 342, IPC. In addition the first' accused is directed to pay a
fine of Rs.2,000/- and if the same is paid, it is directed to be paid to the
minor victim. In default, he should undergo rigorous imprisonment for 3 months.
The second and third respondent-accused are directed to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/-
each in addition to the conviction under Section 366. In default, they should
undergo rigorous imprisonment for one month. All sentences would run
concurrently. The fines if paid, is directed to be paid to the victim.
appeal is accordingly allowed.
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