The Chhattisgarh High Court observed that surmises and assumptions cannot be the sole basis to doubt the credibility of victims under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

The accused, Gajju Lal Fenkar approached the High Court with this appeal under Section 374(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, questioning the judgment of the lower Court, which convicted him of raping a minor.

The bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Ravindra Kumar Agrawal observed, “Surmises and assumptions cannot be the sole basis to doubt the credibility of victim under POCSO Act.”

“we see no reason to doubt the credibility and/or trustworthiness of the victim. She is found to be reliable and trustworthy. Therefore, without any further corroboration, the conviction of the accused relying upon the sole testimony of the victim can be sustained.” Court stated.

Advocate Saurabh Dangi appeared for the Appellant and Government Advocate Sangharsh Pandey appeared for the Respondent.

Brief Facts-

The Complainant, father of the victim alleged that the appellant entered his house and committed rape on his minor daughter. An FIR was registered against the accused/ appellant under Section 376, 450 of the IPC and Section 4 of the POCSO Act. Police filed a Charge sheet against the accused after the completion of the investigation. Later, the case was commenced for trial and the Court convicted the appellant under Section 376(3) IPC and 450 of IPC as well as Section 6 of the POCSO Act.

The Court looked into the submission regarding the age of the victim and observed, “When a person is charged for the offence punishable under the POCSO Act, or for rape punishable in the Indian Penal Code, the age of the victim is significant and essential ingredients to prove such charge and the gravity of the offence gets changed when the child is below 18 years, 12 years and more than 18 years.”

Relying on documents such as the Dakhil Kharij Register, Halafnama Panji and the victim’s school report card etc. the Court concluded that there was no reason to disbelieve her date of birth.

The Prosecution presented compelling evidence, including various witnesses, medical examination reports, and documentary evidence to support its case against the accused.

The defence tried to put doubt on the statement of the victim by submitting that she is mentally weak however, the Court refused to accept any such submission and observed, “Even if is accepted for some time that the victim was mentally weak and was wandering here and there, this still does not give the accused the defence that he is not guilty of rape.”

The Court also noted the statement of the witness who examined the victim and stated, “The victim has also presented clear evidence regarding the incident in his statement. In such a situation, it cannot be said that the victim is presenting evidence against the accused due to being mentally weak.”

The Court relied on the decision in Ganesan v. State, (2020) 10 SCC 573, where the Supreme Court observed and held that there can be a conviction on the sole testimony of the victim/prosecutrix when the deposition of the prosecutrix is found to be trustworthy, unblemished, credible and her evidence is of sterling quality.

The Court further mentioned the decision in State (NCT of Delhi) v. Pankaj Chaudhary, (2019) 11 SCC 575, where, according to the Court it was observed and held that as a general rule, if credible, the conviction of accused can be based on sole testimony, without corroboration. The Court noted that in that case, it was further observed and held that the sole testimony of the prosecutrix should not be doubted by the court merely based on assumptions and surmises.

Accordingly, the Court stated that the prosecution was successful in proving its case beyond reasonable doubt and the trial Court has not committed any legal or factual error in arriving at the finding about the guilt of the appellant/convict.

The Court upheld the conviction of the appellant under Section 376(3) IPC and Section 6 POCSO Act and dismissed the appeal.

Cause Title: Gajju Lal Fenkar v. State of Chattisgarh


Appellant: Adv. Saurabh Dangi

Respondent: Government Adv. Sangharsh Pandey

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