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Supreme Court Decision in case of (attempted) rape & murder of minor !

Comment : In this case – where as the SC comments – a man’s unbriddled carnal passions led to the death of a young girl –  the trial court acquitted the man on the grounds of contradiction in testimony of the father/neighbour/discrepancy with respect to colour of deceased clothes/no medical evidence of injury on private parts. 

The High Court and SC held the Trial Court acquittal to be perverse – because in normal course especially when on deposes after years at trial – there is bound to minor variationas and contradictions due to lapses of memory etc. A hypertechnical view should not lead to miscarriage of justice. Only reasonable doubts belong to accused, the doctrine of proof of guilt beyond all reasonable doubts should not be morbidly stretched and extended so as to leave out the guilty on specious hair splitting technicalities. 

The Court went on to convict placing reliance on 

i) Last Seen together evidence by Neighbour;

ii) Accused being caught on spot by Neighbour/Father also came. 

 

2012 STPL(Web) 322 SC 1  
Jugendra Singh Vs. State of U. P.
Supreme Court Judgements @ http://www.stpl-india.in
2012 STPL(Web) 322 SC
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
(DR. B. S. CHAUHAN & DIPAK MISRA, JJ.)
JUGENDRA SINGH
Appellant
VERSUS
STATE OF U. P.
Respondent
Criminal Appeal No. 82 of 2008-Decided on 29-05-2012.
Murder – Rape – Conviction by High Court Upheld
JUDGMENT
Dipak Misra, J.-From the days of yore, every civilised society has developed various kinds of
marriages to save the man from the tyranny of sex, for human nature in certain circumstances has
the enormous potentiality of exhibiting intrigue, intricacy and complexity, in a way, a labyrinth.
Instances do take place where a man becomes a slave to this tyrant and exposes unbridled appetite
and lowers himself to an unimaginable extent for gratification of his carnal desire. The case at
hand graphically exposes the inferior endowments of nature in the appellant who failed to
husband his passion and made an attempt to commit rape on a nine year old girl and the tears of
the child failed to have any impact on his emotion and even an iota of compassion did not surface
as if it had been atrophied and eventually he pressed her neck which caused instant death of the
nervous young girl.
2. Presently, we shall proceed with the narration. The facts as unfolded by the prosecution, in
brief, are that on 24.06.1994, Vineshwari along with her brother, Dharam Veer, aged about five
years, was having a bath in the water that had accumulated in front of the house of the informant,
Pitambar, their father, due to a crack in the nearby canal. Kali Charan and Ganeshi, PW 2, were
grazing their cattle in the field situate at a short distance. The accused-appellant, a resident of the
village, cajoled Vineshwari to accompany him to the nearby field belonging to one Layak Singh.
The younger brother, Dharam Veer, innocently followed them. At that juncture, the appellant
took off her undergarment and with the intention to have intercourse flung her on the ground. The
young girl cried aloud and her brother, the five year old child, raised an alarm. Kali Charan and
Ganeshi who had seen the accused taking the girl followed by the brother to the field of Layak
Singh rushed to the place and shouted for Pitambar, PW-1. Hearing the shout, Pitambar with his
elder son Harpal rushed to the spot and witnessed that the accused was pressing the neck of
Vineshwari. By the time they could reach the spot, the accused made an effort to run away but he
was apprehended. However, unfortunately by that time, the girl had already breathed her last.
Leaving the accused in the custody of the villagers, Pitambar went to the police station and
lodged an FIR.
3. After the criminal law was set in motion, the accused was arrested and the investigating officer,
Balvir Singh, PW 7, reached the spot and carried out the investigation. The dead body of the
deceased was sent for post mortem. The Investigating Officer seized the garment of the deceased, 2012 STPL(Web) 322 SC 2
Jugendra Singh Vs. State of U. P.
Supreme Court Judgements @ http://www.stpl-india.in
the clothes of the accused and certain other articles and prepared the seizure memo. After
recording the statements of the witnesses under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
and completing further investigation, the prosecution submitted the chargesheet under Sections
302 and 376 read with 511 of the Indian Penal Code (for short “the IPC”) before the competent
court which in turn committed the matter to the Court of Session wherein it was registered as S.T.
No. 1098 of 94.
4. The plea of the defence was one of denial and false implication.
5. The accused chose not to adduce any evidence.
6. In order to prove its case, the prosecution examined eight witnesses, namely, Pitamber @ Pita,
PW-1 (father of the deceased), Ganeshi, PW-2, Dharam Veer, PW-3, Dr. S.K. Sharma, PW-4,
Head Constable Mahfooj Khan, PW- 5, Dr. S.R.P. Mishra, PW-6, Balvir Singh, S.I., PW-7 and
Constable Vinod Kumar, PW-8.
7. Pitamber @ Pita PW-1 stated on oath that the accused influenced his daughter Vineshwari,
who was taking bath in the canal water to accompany him to the nearby field. He has further
stated that the accused attempted to commit rape on his daughter and ultimately strangulated her
throat that caused her death. Ganeshi, PW-2 deposed that he along with Kali Charan was there.
On hearing the cry of the girl, he and Kali Charan went to the field of Layak Singh and found that
the accused was trying to commit rape on Vineshwari and tied a shirt on her neck. Dharam Veer,
PW-3, could not be examined because he was unable to grasp the questions.
8. Dr. S.K. Sharma, PW-4 conducted the post mortem of Vineshwari and found the following
anti-mortem injuries:- (1) Abrasion 5 cm. X 1 cm. over Rt. Ramus of jaw extending neck region.
(2) Abrasion 3 cm. X 1 cm. over left Supra Clovicular region. No injury was found on the private
parts and/or thighs nor on chest and buttocks. However, two vaginal smears were prepared and
sent for pathological examination. Over eternal pericardium larynxes and both the lungs of the
deceased, deposits of blood were found. Except this, the liver, pancreas, spleen and both kidneys
were filled with blood. On interior examination, Larynx, Trachea, Bronchi and Lungs were found
congested. According to Dr. S.K. Sharma, the death of the deceased took place due to asphyxia as
a result of throttling.
9. Dr. S.R.P. Mishra, PW-6 examined the accused Jugendra and found certain contusions,
abrasions and superfluous injuries on his body.
10. Balvir Singh, S.I., PW-7 proved the site plan, recovery memo of underwear of Vineshwari,
panchnama, report to C.M.O. and chargesheet.
11. The learned trial Judge appreciating the evidence on record found that there were
discrepancies and contradictions in the testimony of the witnesses; that it was difficult to believe
that the accused was laying upon the deceased in the presence of Kali Charan and Ganeshi; that
the deposition of witnesses that they had found blood on the spot had not received corroboration
from the examination of Dr. S. K. Sharma, P. W. 4, who had deposed that the blood had not
oozed out from the body of the deceased girl; that the colour of the under garment of the girl as
stated by her father did not tally with the colour described in the recovery memo; that as per the
medical report there was no injury on the private parts of the deceased; that there was difference
in the time mentioned by the witnesses as regards the lodging of the FIR inasmuch as the
investigating officer arrived at the spot between 1.30 to 2.00 p.m. whereas the FIR was lodged at
2.45 p.m.; and that the colour of the shirt was not properly stated by the witnesses. Because of the 2012 STPL(Web) 322 SC 3
Jugendra Singh Vs. State of U. P.
Supreme Court Judgements @ http://www.stpl-india.in
aforesaid findings, the trial court came to the conclusion that the prosecution had failed to prove
its case beyond reasonable doubt and accordingly acquitted the accused of the charge.
12. The aforesaid judgment of acquittal came to be challenged before the High Court in Criminal
Appeal No. 2644of 1998 on the ground that the view expressed by the learned trial Judge was
totally perverse since minor discrepancies and contradictions had been magnified and the real
evidence had been ignored. It was also put forth that the trial court failed to appreciate the fact
that the accused was apprehended at the spot and nothing had been brought on record to dislodge
the same. It was also urged that the view expressed by the trial court was totally unreasonable and
defied logic in the primary sense.
13. The High Court perused the evidence on record and opined that unnecessary emphasis had
been laid on minor discrepancies by the trial court and the view expressed by it was absolutely
perverse and remotely not a plausible one. Being of this view, it over-turned the judgment of
acquittal to that conviction and sentenced the accused to undergo life imprisonment for the
offence under Section 302 IPC and to undergo rigorous imprisonment for ten years for the
offence under Section 376 read with 511 of IPC with the stipulation that both the sentences shall
run concurrently.
14. We have heard Mr. Lav Kumar Agrawal, learned counsel for the appellant, and Mr. R. K.
Dash, learned counsel for the State.
15. It is contended by Mr. Agrawal that the High Court has not kept in view the parameters on
which the judgment of acquittal is to be interfered with and has converted one of acquittal to
conviction solely by stating that the judgment is perverse. It is urged by him that the
discrepancies and contradictions have been discussed in detail by the trial court and he has
expressed a well reasoned opinion that the prosecution has failed to bring home the charge, but
the said conclusion has been unsettled by the High Court by stating that the said discrepancies are
minor in nature. It is his further submission that the ocular evidence has not received any
corroboration from the medical evidence and further the material particulars have been totally
overlooked and hence, the judgment of conviction is sensitively vulnerable.
16. Mr. Dash, learned senior counsel appearing for respondent, has canvassed that the learned
trial judge had treated the ordinary discrepancies which are bound to occur when rustic witnesses
have been accentuated as if they are in the realm of high degree of contradiction and
inconsistency. It is submitted by him that when the judgment of the trial court suffers from
perversity of approach especially in relation to the appreciation of evidence and the view cannot
be treated to be a possible one, no flaw can be found with the judgment of reversal by the High
Court.
17. To appreciate the submissions raised at the bar and to evaluate the correctness of the
impugned judgment, we think it appropriate to refer to certain authorities in the field which deal
with the parameters for reversing a judgment of acquittal to that of conviction by the appellate
court.
18. In Jadunath Singh and Others v. State of U.P. [AIR 1972 SC 116], a three Judge Bench of
this Court has held thus:-
“This Court has consistently taken the view that an appeal against acquittal the High
Court has full power to review at large all the evidence and to reach the conclusion that
upon that evidence the order of acquittal should be reversed. This power of the appellate 2012 STPL(Web) 322 SC 4
Jugendra Singh Vs. State of U. P.
Supreme Court Judgements @ http://www.stpl-india.in
court in an appeal against acquittal was formulated by the Judicial Committee of the
Privy Council in Sheo Swarup v. King Emperor, [61 Ind App 398 = AIR 1934 PC
227] and Nur Mohammad v. Emperor [AIR 1945 PC 151]. These two decisions have
been consistently referred to in judgments of this Court as laying down the true scope of
the power of an appellate court in hearing criminal appeals: see Surajpal Singh v. State
[1952 SCR 193 = AIR 1952 SC 52] and Sanwat Singh v. State of Rajasthan [(1961) 3
SCR 120 = AIR 1961 SC 715]. ”
19. In Damodar Prasad Chandrika Prasad and Others v. State of Maharashtra [AIR 1972
SC 622] it has been held that once the Appellate Court comes to the conclusion that the view of
the trial court is unreasonable, that itself provides a reason for interference. The two-Judge Bench
referred to the decision in State of Bombay v. Rusy Mistry, [AIR 1960 SC 391] to hold that if
the finding shocks the conscience of the Court or has disregarded the norms of legal process or
substantial and grave injustice has been done, the same can be interfered with.
20. In Shivaji Sahebrao Bobade and another v. State of Maharashtra [AIR 1973 SC 2622],
the three-Judge Bench opined that there are no fetters on the plenary power of the Appellate
Court to review the whole evidence on which the order of acquittal is founded and, indeed, it has
a duty to scrutinise the probative material de novo, informed, however, by the weighty thought
that the rebuttable innocence attributed to the accused having been converted into an acquittal the
homage of our jurisprudence owes to individual liberty constrains the higher court not to upset
the finding without very convincing reasons and comprehensive consideration. This Court further
proceeded to state that the cherished principles of golden thread to prove beyond reasonable
doubt which runs through the wave of our law should not be stretched morbidly to embrace every
hunch, hesitancy and degree of doubt. Emphasis was laid on the aspect that a balance has to be
struck between chasing chance possibilities as good enough to set the delinquent free and
chopping the logic of preponderant probability to punish the marginal innocents.
21. In State of Karnataka v. K. Gopala Krishna [AIR 2005 SC 1014], it has been held that
where the findings of the Court below are fully unreasonable or perverse and not based on the
evidence on record or suffer from serious illegality and include ignorance and misreading of
record, the Appellate Court will be justified in setting aside such an order of acquittal. If two
views are reasonably possible and the view favouring the accused has been accepted by the courts
below, that is sufficient for upholding the order of acquittal. Similar view was reiterated in
Ayodhya Singh v. State of Bihar and others. [2005 9 SCC 584]
22. In Anil Kumar v. State of U.P. [2004 13 SCC 257], it has been stated that interference with
an order of acquittal is called for if there are compelling and substantial reasons such as where the
impugned judgment is clearly unreasonable and relevant and convincing materials have been
unjustifiably eliminated.
23. In Girija Prasad (dead) by LRs. v. State of M. P. [2007 7 SCC 625], it has been observed
that in an appeal against acquittal, the Appellate Court has every power to re-appreciate, review
and reconsider the evidence as a whole before it. It is, no doubt, true that there is a presumption of
innocence in favour of the accused and that presumption is reinforced by an order of acquittal
recorded by the trial court, but that is not the end of the matter. It is for Appellate Court to keep in
view the relevant principles of law to re-appreciate and reweigh as a whole and to come to its
own conclusion in accord with the principle of criminal jurisprudence. 2012 STPL(Web) 322 SC 5
Jugendra Singh Vs. State of U. P.
Supreme Court Judgements @ http://www.stpl-india.in
24. In State of Goa v. Sanjay Thakran [2007 3 SCC 755], it has been reiterated that the
Appellate Court can peruse the evidence and interfere with the order of acquittal only if the
approach of the lower court is vitiated by some manifest illegality or the decision is perverse.
25. In State of U. P. v. Ajai Kumar [AIR 2008 SC 1269], the principles stated in State of
Rajasthan v. Sohan lal [(2004) 5 SCC 573] were reiterated. It is worth noting that in the case of
Sohan Lal, it has been stated thus:-
“This Court has repeatedly laid down that as the first appellate court the High Court, even
while dealing with an appeal against acquittal, was also entitled, and obliged as well, to
scan through and if need be reappreciate the entire evidence, though while choosing to
interfere only the court should find an absolute assurance of the guilt on the basis of the
evidence on record and not merely because the High Court could take one more possible
or a different view only. Except the above, where the matter of the extent and depth of
consideration of the appeal is concerned, no distinctions or differences in approach are
envisaged in dealing with an appeal as such merely because one was against conviction
or the other against an acquittal.”
26. In Chandrappa v. State of Karnataka [(2007) 4 SCC 415], this Court held as under: –
“42 From the above decisions, in our considered view, the following general principles
regarding powers of the appellate court while dealing with an appeal against an order of
acquittal emerge:
(1) An appellate court has full power to review, reappreciate and reconsider the
evidence upon which the order of acquittal is founded.
(2) The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 puts no limitation, restriction or
condition on exercise of such power and an appellate court on the evidence
before it may reach its own conclusion, both on questions of fact and of law.
(3) Various expressions, such as, “substantial and compelling reasons”, “good
and sufficient grounds”, “very strong circumstances”, “distorted conclusions”,
“glaring mistakes”, etc. are not intended to curtail extensive powers of an
appellate court in an appeal against acquittal. Such phraseologies are more in the
nature of “flourishes of language” to emphasise the reluctance of an appellate
court to interfere with acquittal than to curtail the power of the court to review
the evidence and to come to its own conclusion.
(4) An appellate court, however, must bear in mind that in case of acquittal, there
is double presumption in favour of the accused. Firstly, the presumption of
innocence is available to him under the fundamental principle of criminal
jurisprudence that every person shall be presumed to be innocent unless he is
proved guilty by a competent court of law. Secondly, the accused having secured
his acquittal, the presumption of his innocence is further reinforced, reaffirmed
and strengthened by the trial court.
(5) If two reasonable conclusions are possible on the basis of the evidence on
record, the appellate court should not disturb the finding of acquittal recorded by
the trial court.” 2012 STPL(Web) 322 SC 6
Jugendra Singh Vs. State of U. P.
Supreme Court Judgements @ http://www.stpl-india.in
27. In S. Ganesan v. Rama Raghuraman and others [(2011) 2 SCC 83], one of us (Dr. B.S.
Chauhan, J.), after referring to the decision in Sunil Kumar Sambhudayal Gupta (Dr.) v. State
of Maharashtra [(2010) 13 SCC 657], considered various aspects of dealing with a case of
acquittal and after placing reliance upon earlier judgments of this Court, particularly in Balak
Ram v. State of U.P. [(1975) 3 SCC 219], Budh Singh v. State of U.P. [(2006) 9 SCC 731],
Rama Krishna v. S. Rami Reddy [(2008) 5 SCC 535], Aruvelu v. State [(2009) 10 SCC 206]
and Babu v. State of Kerala [(2010) 9 SCC 189], held that unless there are substantial and
compelling circumstances, the order of acquittal is not required to be reversed in appeal. Similar
view has been reiterated in Ranjitham v. Basvaraj & Ors. [(2012) 1 SCC 414] and State of
Rajasthan v. Shera Ram @ Vishnu Dutta [(2012) 1 SCC 602].
28. Keeping in view the aforesaid well-settled principles, we are required to scrutinize whether
the judgment of the High Court withstands the close scrutiny or conviction has been recorded
because a different view can be taken. First we shall refer to the ante mortem injuries which were
found on the deceased –
(i) abrasion 5 cm x 1 cm over right ramus of jaw extending to the neck and
(ii) abrasion 3 cm x 1 cm over left supra clavicular region. On internal examination,
larynx, trachea and bronchi were found congested. Both the lungs were congested. Brain
was congested. Partially digested food was found in the stomach. Small and large
intestine were half full. The doctor who conducted the post mortem has opined that the
cause of death was due to asphyxia as a result of throttling.
29. PW-6 Dr. S.R.P. Mishra had examined the accused and had found four contusions and two
abrasions on his forehead, left ear, neck, left side chest and right shoulder. The learned trial Judge
has given some emphasis on these injuries but the High Court has expressed the view that when
the accused was apprehended at the spot by the witnesses, he had been given a beating for the
criminal act and hence, the minor injuries had no significance.
30. The question is whether the trial court was justified in coming to hold that there were
discrepancies and contradictions in the evidence of the witnesses and, therefore, the case of the
prosecution did not deserve acceptance. The discrepancies that have been found have been
described while we have dealt with the trial court judgment. The medical report clearly says that
the death was caused due to asphyxia as a result of throttling. PW-4, the surgeon, who has
conducted the autopsy, stated that the deceased was wearing a shirt. PW-1, the father, has stated
that she was strangulated by a bush shirt. The learned trial Judge has given much emphasis by
drawing a distinction between a shirt and a bush shirt. The High Court has treated that it is not a
material contradiction. In the FIR, it was clearly mentioned that the accused strangulated the
deceased with the help of her shirt. The medical report supports the same and, therefore, the
nature of the shirt which has been given importance by the learned trial Judge, in our considered
opinion, has been rightly not accepted. The learned trial Judge has doubted the testimony of
Ganeshi, PW- 2, that he had not seen the children taking the bath and further he has also opined
that it would not have been possible for the accused to lay upon the deceased in their presence. In
this regard, the distance has been taken into consideration to discard the testimony. The High
Court has perused the testimony or deposition of PW-2 wherefrom it is evincible that the spot was
at the distance of 100 paces where he was grazing the cattle. The Investigating Officer has
deposed that there was water in about half kilometre area as there was a crack in the canal as a
consequence of which water was flowing in front of the house of the informant. Thus, the High
Court has opined that the variance with regard to the details of distance cannot be made the
edifice to discard their testimony. The High Court has treated Ganeshi as a natural and neutral 2012 STPL(Web) 322 SC 7
Jugendra Singh Vs. State of U. P.
Supreme Court Judgements @ http://www.stpl-india.in
witness and it has also observed that his evidence could not have been thrown overboard on the
ground of absence of precise description of distance and the fact that he had not seen the children
bathing in the water. That apart, the inference by the trial court is that when they had arrived on
the scene, the accused could not have been laying on the deceased in their presence. On a perusal
of his deposition as well as analysis made by the learned trial Judge, it is evident that there was
some time gap and distance. The accused was laying on the deceased and throttled her neck with
the shirt. The other witnesses had arrived after five to ten minutes. The High Court has taken note
of the distance, time and the age of the deceased and has found that the reasoning ascribed by the
trial court to disbelieve the version of PW-2 is unacceptable.
31. The learned trial Judge has noticed that both Pitambar and Ganeshi had deposed that they had
seen blood on the spot, though the medical report clearly showed that there was no oozing of
blood from any part of the body of the deceased and further that there was no injury on the
private parts of the girl. It is apt to note here that there was some frothy liquid coming out from
the nose of the deceased. The High Court, while analysing the said evidence, has observed that
the witnesses though had stated to have seen blood on the spot in their cross-examination, yet that
would not really destroy the version of the prosecution regard being had to the many other facts
which have been proven and further there was no justifiable reason to discard the testimony of the
father and others who were eye witnesses to the occurrence.
32. The learned trial Judge has taken note of the fact that PW-1 had stated in his crossexamination that the underwear of the deceased was printed green in colour while PW-2 had
stated that the colour of the underwear was red in colour and according to the recovery memo, the
colour was red, white and yellow. The High Court has perused the memo, Ext. Ka2, prepared by
the Investigating Officer wherein it has been described that the printed underwear was of red,
white, yellow and black colour. That apart, when the witnesses were deposing almost after a span
of three years, it was not expected of them to remember the exact colour of the printed
underwear. In any case, the High Court has observed that the said discrepancy, by no stretch of
imagination, could be treated as a discrepancy of any significance.
33. Another aspect which has weighed with the learned trial Judge was about the time of the
lodging of the FIR. The said timing has no bearing on the case of the prosecution inasmuch as
rustic and uneducated villagers could not have been precise on the time concept.
34. At this juncture, we may remind ourselves that it is the duty of the court to shift the chaff
from the grain and find out the truth from the testimony of the witnesses. A testimony of the
witness is required to inspire confidence. It must be creditworthy. In State of U.P. v. M.K.
Anthony [AIR 1985 SC 48], this Court has observed that in case of minor discrepancies on
trivial matters not touching the core of the case, hypertechnical approach by taking the sentences
torn out of context here or there from the evidence, attaching importance to some technical error
committed by the investigating officer and not going to the root of the matter would not ordinarily
permit rejection of the evidence as a whole.
35. In Rammi alias Rameshwar v. State of Madhya Pradesh [AIR 1999 SC 3544], this Court
has held as follows: –
“24. When eye-witness is examined at length it is quite possible for him to make some
discrepancies. No true witness can possibly escape from making some discrepant details.
Perhaps an untrue witness who is well tutored can successfully make his testimony totally
non-discrepant. But Courts should bear in mind that it is only when discrepancies in the
evidence of a witness are so incompatible with the credibility of his version that the Court 2012 STPL(Web) 322 SC 8
Jugendra Singh Vs. State of U. P.
Supreme Court Judgements @ http://www.stpl-india.in
is justified in jettisoning his evidence. But too serious a view to be adopted on mere
variations falling in the narration of an incident (either as between the evidence of two
witnesses or as between two statements of the same witness) is an unrealistic approach
for judicial scrutiny.”
36. In Appabhai and another v. State of Gujarat [AIR 1988 SC 696], this Court has ruled
thus: –
“The Court while appreciating the evidence must not attach undue importance to minor
discrepancies. The discrepancies which do not shake the basic version of the prosecution
case may be discarded. The discrepancies which are due to normal errors of perception or
observation should not be given importance. The errors due to lapse of memory may be
given due allowance. The Court by calling into aid its vast experience of men and matters
in different cases must evaluate the entire material on record by excluding the
exaggerated version given by any witness. When a doubt arises in respect of certain facts
alleged by such witness, the proper course is to ignore that fact only unless it goes into
the root of the matter so as to demolish the entire prosecution story. The witnesses
nowadays go on adding embellishments to their version perhaps for the fear of their
testimony being rejected by the Court. The courts, however, should not disbelieve the
evidence of such witnesses altogether if they are otherwise trustworthy.”
37. Judged on the aforesaid principles of law, we are of the considered opinion that the learned
trial Judge had given unnecessary importance on absolutely minor discrepancies which do not go
to the root of the matter and the High Court has correctly treated the analysis to be perverse.
Quite apart from that, it is noticeable from the judgment of the trial court that the learned trial
Judge has proceeded on a wrong footing by saying that the case of the prosecution was that the
accused had committed rape on the deceased whereas on a perusal of the FIR, it is quite clear that
the allegation was that the accused has pulled the underwear of the girl with the intention to
commit rape. Similar is the testimony of Ganeshi (PW-1) who has stated that the accused was
laying on the girl. It is difficult to understand how the learned trial Judge has conceived that the
case of the prosecution was that the accused had committed rape.
38. Thus, from the aforesaid analysis, there can be no trace of doubt that the view taken by the
learned trial Judge was absolutely unreasonable, perverse and on total erroneous appreciation of
evidence contrary to the settled principles of law. It can never be treated as a plausible view. In
our considered opinion, only a singular view is possible that the accused had made an attempt to
commit rape and he was witnessed while he was strangulating the child with a shirt. The result
was that a nine year old child breathed her last. The reasoning ascribed by the learned trial Judge
that she did not die because of any injury makes the decision more perverse rather than
reasonable. That apart, nothing has been brought on record to show that there was any kind of
enmity between the family of the deceased and that of the accused appellant. There is no reason
why the father and the other witnesses would implicate the accused appellant in the crime and
would spare the real culprit. Quite apart from the above, he was apprehended on the spot. The
accused had taken the plea that the deceased had died as she had drowned in the water. The
medical report runs absolutely contrary inasmuch there was no water in her stomach or in any
internal part of the body. There was no motive on the part of any of the witnesses to falsely
involve the accused in the crime. In view of our aforesaid analysis, we entirely agree with the
view expressed by the High Court.
39. Before parting with the case, we may note that the appellant has created a situation by which a
nine year old girl who believed in him as a co-villager and went with him in total innocence 2012 STPL(Web) 322 SC 9
Jugendra Singh Vs. State of U. P.
Supreme Court Judgements @ http://www.stpl-india.in
breathed her last before she could get into her blossom of adolescence. Rape or an attempt to rape
is a crime not against an individual but a crime which destroys the basic equilibrium of the social
atmosphere. The consequential death is more horrendous. It is to be kept in mind that an offence
against the body of a woman lowers her dignity and mars her reputation. It is said that one’s
physical frame is his or her temple. No one has any right of encroachment. An attempt for the
momentary pleasure of the accused has caused the death of a child and had a devastating effect on
her family and, in the ultimate eventuate, on the collective at large. When a family suffers in such
a manner, the society as a whole is compelled to suffer as it creates an incurable dent in the fabric
of the social milieu. The cry of the collective has to be answered and respected and that is what
exactly the High Court has done by converting the decision of acquittal to that of conviction and
imposed the sentence as per law.

40. Consequently, the appeal, being sans merit, stands dismissed.

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