Case Commentary on Puran Chand v. State of Himachal Pradesh

BENCH: Division Bench

JUDGES: Justice T.S. Thakur

Justice Gyan Sudha Misra

FACTS

In the instant case the victim is a girl of 17 years of age who has suffered the offence of Rape.  In the FIR dated on 28.08.2006, she stated that at around 12:30 p.m. she took her goats for grazing at a place which was about half a kilometer far from her village. When she was sitting alone on a foot path at about 2:00 p.m. somebody grabbed her forcefully from the back. On looking back she found out that it was the accused/appellant who had grabbed her. On asking upon the reason for this act of the appellant, the victim did not receive any reply from him. The appellant then started to abuse her whole body, particularly the bosom area, removed all her clothes, made her forcibly lay on the ground and administered sexual assault on her by committing the crime of rape. The victim girl got frightened, panicked and shouted for help but no one came to save her from that terrible act. After committing the crime the accused/appellant left the place and threatened or warned the girl to not talk about the happenings to anyone or else she should deal with grave consequences for disclosing the incident. The victim stated that due to this fear she did not talk about the incidents either with her family or friends for many days but was silently suffering from the trauma of the monstrous crime that was committed on her. However, when this tension and trauma that was in her mind increased to an extent that she was not able to take it anymore and tried to commit suicide by consuming poison.  This made her unconscious and she was admitted in a hospital which was located in Dadahu, then shifted to Nahan and then finally was shifted to PGI in Chandigarh. When she regained her consciousness she told her parents and Ramesh Chand, her brother, about the happenings. On being discharged from PGI, Chandigarh on 10.09.2006, she reported about the incident at Nahan Police Station.

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LEGAL ISSUES INVOLVED IN THE CASE

  1. Is it really necessary to rely upon the medical information to ascertain the crime of rape?
  2. Should the delay in lodging the FIR affect the conviction?
  3. If the consent is absent under section 114(a) of Crpc, and then does the defense require to prove that the consent was free?

 

STATEMENT OF LAW

The relevant Statues and Provisions in question are:

Indian Evidence Act 1972 in Section 114-A

Indian Penal Code, 1860: Section 375, 376, 506 I  

DECISION

The examination of accused was done under Section 313 of Cr.P.C. and he denied the roots of prosecution’s case and firmly pleaded that the case of prosecution and deposition of the witness was just due to their previous enmity. The learned session judge analyzed and all the aspects of the case and scrutinized all the evidences presented.  The decision of the judge was in the favor of the victim and convicted and sentenced the accused under the law. This judgment was not satisfactory to the accused and he appealed in the higher court of law i.e. the High Court of Himachal Pradesh located at Shimla against the order and decision of the Trail Court. However, the High Court did not obstruct the judgment given by the Trail Court and upheld the order of the Trial Court i.e. the sentence and conviction of the appellant by the lower court of law. The appellant preferred a further appeal criticizing the concurrent judgment and order passed by the Trial Court and High Court. The Supreme Court of India held in the view of the aforementioned inquiry and did the analysis of the evidences present on record. The Appeal of the appellants had no substance in the eye of the Supreme Court and therefore the sentence and conviction given in the judgments of the Trial court and High Court for the appellant was upheld. And therefore the appeal was dismissed.

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RATIO ESTABLISED

  • Arisen of doubt due to supposed fault in the evidences which are medical, the help of circumstantial evidences cannot be overlooked.
  • The assimilation and amendment of Section 114(a) in the Indian Evidence Act by the Legislature, incorporated by its wisdom, very clearly implied and expected the Court to give the most importance to the heinous offence of rape, in the definition of which the attempt to rape is also included.

CASE ANALYSIS

On reading the clauses in question in the following case and also reading the judgments that were referred in this case, the inferences that we derive are as follows, firstly we must note that the hymen of the victim was found to be intact by the doctor but she did not firmly deny the fact that any rupture in the hymen did not take place. Here we cannot ignore the fact that the current case will have to be examined with the help of the additional circumstantial evidence in order to test the accountability of the case of prosecution. The statement made by the victim girl telling that she was in trauma and took a very severe step of killing herself by consuming poison cannot be neglected. We cannot ignore the fact that a girl along with her parents would not file a false case just because of enmity between two families and rapture her esteem and face such trauma. Secondly, the delay in lodging the FIR by the victim can be easily explained by the fact that the mental state of the victim was not stable after the traumatizing event and also because of the threat given by the accused to her. The version of the victim girl cannot be doubted also because of the test of the witness under the scrutiny of cross examination have had a proper justification. Thus the delay in lodging the FIR by the victim can be explained and a minor supported by medical evidences although weak can be strengthened by the circumstantial evidences which have a continuous link of events without any missing link.

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I am totally in agreement with this decision of the Supreme Court after understanding all the arguments and reasoning given. Thus the decision of the Supreme Court in concurrence with the decision of the High Court and the Trial Court to convict the appellant was righteous.

Author: Archita Tiwari,
NATIONAL LAW INSTITUTE UNIVERSITY (1st Year)

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