The Allahabad High Court has acquitted three men in 1991 rape case saying that it is a clear case of false implication due to political rivalry and property dispute.

An appeal was thus filed under Section 374(2) of Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC.) by the aforesaid men who were convicted under Section 376 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) for imprisonment of life and under Section 452 of IPC for imprisonment of three years.

A Division Bench of Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Justice Nand Prabha Shukla held, “The evidence adduced by PW-2 and PW-3 does not support the case of commission of rape on the prosecutrix. The recovered clothes of the prosecutrix (salwar) having stained semen, was not sent for chemical examination which also does not fortify the prosecution case. No independent witnesses were examined. Though the Investigating Officer found the fallen sugarcane plants but no such entry was made in the Case Diary. The site plan does not indicate the height of the boundary wall which was crossed by the accused while entering into the house. It is a clear case of false implication due to political rivalry and property dispute. There is no material evidence to substantiate the prosecution case.”

Advocate Sudhir Kumar appeared on behalf of the appellants while Additional Government Advocate Rahul Asthana appeared on behalf of the State.

Factual Background -

Prosecution case was as follows: The victim’s husband had purchased two bighas of land from the accused no. 1 in 1991 but later he wanted to sell it for personal necessity. The accused desired to get back the land for the same amount but the victim’s husband was reluctant as he had a habit of gambling. In revenge, the accused expressed his anger and on being insulted, he threatened of dire consequences. About a week before the incident, the victim’s husband went to Dehradun for a job and then on the intervening night of November 12-13, 1991 at around 12:00 at night, the accused along with co-accused entered into her house. The accused dragged her towards the sugarcane field and on being dragged, she screamed and her sister-in-law too raised an alarm.The villagers came but the accused dragged her away towards the sugarcane field and committed rape for the whole night one by one. In the morning, when the tillers saw her, they rushed to rescue her and then an FIR was lodged. When the victim was produced for medical examination, the doctor found no external injuries, the vagina was two fingers loose, and uterus was also normal in size. The radiological age of the victim was more than 18 years and it was opined that no opinion could be given about rape as there were no sperms seen in the vaginal smear. The accused persons denied the incident and stated that they were falsely implicated in the case due to enmity, political rivalry, and property dispute.

The High Court after hearing the rival submissions and arguments of the counsel observed, “… we find that though there was slight delay in lodging the FIR but in rape matters it is a normal phenomenon. In cases of sexual assault, the victim is often bashful and carries trauma in her mind and requires some time to master the courage to undertake a legal battle against the culprit. The appellant counsel has emphasized the property dispute as the main motive of implicating them for the accusation of rape finds substance. Enemity is a double edged weapon. The property dispute amongst the party is a strong reason for false implication. It has been found that already a suit was instituted by the wife of accused Shamim for the cancellation of the sale deed therefore, there was no occasion for the accused to unnecessary insult the prosecutrix by committing rape.”

The Court further said that the victim was a married young lady having two children and was medically examined within 48 hours of the incident, therefore, there was no reason to question its credibility. It noted that the doctor found no external injuries on her body and the vaginal smear did not contain any sperm.

“The prosecutrix was habitual to sexual intercourse, therefore, no opinion about rape could be given. According to the X-ray report, the age of victim was more than 18 years. The testimony of the prosecutrix of commission of rape is not substantiated and does not corroborates with the medical evidence. The statement of the prosecutrix is unworthy of credence. It is the admitted case of the prosecution that the accused were not carrying any weapon. PW-2 and PW-3 were examined as eye witness account of the incident but they could only narrate the incident which took place within the house but could not depose about the incident which took place in the sugarcane field. It has also been admitted by PW-1 that the accused neither insulted nor raped her inside the house”, also observed the Court.

The Court said that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond the reasonable doubt and that the statement of victim is full of discrepancies and does not inspire confidence. It further held that though the conviction can be based on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix, but the evidence of the prosecutrix when read as a whole does not corroborate with the medical evidence and is not worthy of credence.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the appeal and set aside the conviction of the appellants.

Cause Title- Shamim and Others v. State of U.P. (Neutral Citation: 2023:AHC:216972-DB)

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