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news details
HC set-aside conviction in rape case
5/17/2024 10:02:45 PM
Early Times Report
JAMMU, May 17: Justice Sanjay Dhar of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court today set-aside the conviction and sentence awarded by the Trial Court to Naresh Kumar.
The present appeal is directed against judgment dated 24.01.2024 passed by the Principal Sessions Judge, Kathua ('the trial Court' for short) whereby the appellant has been convicted for offences under Sections 363/376/343 RPC, where-after, in proof of offence under Section 363 RPC, the appellant has been sentenced to undergone simple imprisonment for a period of 07 years and to a pay a fine of Rs.5000/-, in proof of offence under Section 376 RPC, he has sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of 10 years and to pay a fine of Rs.10,000/-, and, in proof of offence under Section 343 RPC, the appellant has been sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of one year and to pay a fine of Rs.1000/-. All the sentences have been directed to run concurrently.
Justice Sanjay Dhar after hearing both the sides observed that it is clear that statement of the prosecutrix cannot be treated as one of sterling quality for the reason that she has contradicted her previous statement on a vital aspects and there are inherent improbabilities and contradictions in her statement making it highly hazardous to place reliance upon it. The prosecutrix in her statement before the Court has given a different version of the occurrence than the one projected by the Investigating Agency in the charge-sheet. While the prosecutrix has stated that she boarded the vehicle of the appellant and she was made to take cold drink, where-after, she went unconscious and found herself at Rajasthan, but the case of the prosecution as projected in the charge-sheet is that she had previous acquaintance with the appellant who called her to Bani wherefrom she boarded a Bus to Kathua and thereafter she was taken to Rajathan in a Train. Once her version of occurrence is not consistent with the version of occurrence given in the challan, her statement becomes doubtful. For this reason, the same cannot form a basis of conviction of the appellant, particulary when the corroborative circumstances have not been established.
The trial Court while convicting the appellant has not taken note of any of the aforesaid aspects of the matter. The finding of the trial Court that the prosecutrix was recovered from the custody of the appellant is not supported by any evidence. The same is clearly perverse. The manner in which the learned trial Court has analyzed the evidence on record leaves much to be desired. The trial Court without testing the testimony of the prosecutrix on the touchstone of settled principles of evidence, has proceeded to rely upon the same. The findings recorded by the trial Court to say the least, are perverse being based on no evidence and flawed reasoning. The same deserve to be set aside.
Accordingly, the impugned judgment of conviction and sentence recorded by the trial Court is set aside. The appellant is directed to be released from the custody forthwith, if not required in any other case.
—JNF
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