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Prosecuterix was in the habit of implicating people- SC sets aside concurrent conviction in a rape case seventeen years after guilty sentence
Ganga Prasad Mahto Vs State of Bihar and Anr
CRIMINAL APPEAL No.526 OF 2019
About/from the judgment:
Nearly seventeen years after he was sentenced to undergo seven years’ rigorous imprisonment by a trial court, the Supreme Court today acquitted a man accused of rape, passed the ruling in an appeal filed by the man (appellant) in 2014.
The guilty verdict was passed by an Additional District and Sessions Judge, Samastipur in April 2002. Thereafter, the ruling was confirmed by the Patna High Court in 2004.
The criminal complaint against the appellant had been lodged in December 1997. The prosecutrix had alleged that the appellant had broken into her house one night and raped her after threatening her with a gun. The lower courts had ruled against the appellant based on the testimony by three witnesses, i.e. the prosecutrix, her husband and a next-door neighbour.
It came to light eventually that the husband was not at home at the time of the alleged rape, whereas the neighbour was a chance witness. This meant that there were no eye-witnesses to verify the version of events put forward by the prosecutrix.
While this was the case, the Court also noted that there was evidence revealing that the prosecutrix had a habit of making wild allegations and false complaints against persons with whom she or her husband had disputes with. In this case, the appellant was also found to be involved in a dispute with her husband.
Moreover, the Court pointed out that no medical examination was conducted to confirm the rape. The lower courts had based their verdict solely on witness testimony. The prosecution had also omitted to call on any doctors as expert witnesses during the trial to examine whether the rape was established or not.
In view of these observations, the Supreme Court proceeded to allow the appeal and set aside the rape conviction, noting that the case was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. The judgment states,
“In the light of the aforementioned seven reasons, we are of the considered opinion that the prosecution has failed to prove the case of rape alleged by the Complainant(PW3) against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt. In other words, there is no evidence adduced by the prosecution to prove the commission of the offence of rape by the appellant on PW3 and the evidence adduced is not sufficient to prove the case of rape against the appellant.
Both the Courts below were, therefore, not justified in convicting the appellant for an offence punishable under Section 376 IPC and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years. He was entitled to acquittal.“
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