Rape Of 7-Yr-Old: Crying Demand Of Ravaged Soul For Protection & Justice Not Only Relevant But Also Incriminating- Orissa HC Upholds Man’s Conviction
The Orissa High Court in case of rape of seven-year-old girl has upheld the conviction of a man observing that conduct on the part of the victim manifests the crying demand of a ravaged soul for protection and justice which is not only relevant but also incriminating.
The Court was deciding a case in which the accused had filed an appeal against the judgment passed by the Additional Sessions Judge-cum-Special Judge, Children’s Court.
A Single Bench of Justice S.K. Sahoo noted, “In the case in hand, the victim did not try to cover-up the incident at any point of time; rather she immediately reported the same to her parents. Such conduct on the part of the victim manifests the crying demand of a ravaged soul for protection and justice, which is not only relevant but also incriminating against the appellant.”
The Bench said that the evidence of the victim coupled with her parents and an independent witness so also the doctors clearly substantiate that the appellant committed rape on the victim, who was then aged less than twelve years.
Advocate Sefali Das appeared on behalf of the appellant/accused while Addl. Standing Counsel appeared on behalf of the respondent/State.
Brief Facts -
The appellant was accused of committing forcible sexual intercourse with the victim, who was then aged about seven years and also voluntarily causing hurt to her and committing aggravated penetrative sexual assault on her. The Trial Court found the appellant guilty under Section 376AB of the IPC and Section 6 of the POCSO Act and acquitted him of the charge under Section 323 of the IPC and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of twenty years and to pay a fine of Rs.5,000/-.
No separate sentence was awarded for commission of the offence under Section 6 of the POCSO Act in the view of Section 42 of the said Act. The victim was raped in a jungle by the appellant and sustained bleeding injury. The appellant faced trial and was, therefore, before the High Court against his conviction.
The High Court in view of the above facts observed, “… in view of the non-teetering evidence of the victim regarding commission of the heinous crime upon her, this Court has scant hesitation in accepting her version. Further, the conduct of the victim in disclosing the occurrence before her family members, immediately after she returned from the jungle, is relevant and admissible as res gestae under section 6 of the Evidence Act. The said provision says, “Facts which, though not in issue, are so connected with a fact in issue as to form part of the same transaction, are relevant, whether they occurred at the same time and place or at different times and places.”
The Court held that the Trial Court has rightly found the appellant guilty under Section 376AB of the IPC and Section 6 of the POCSO Act.
“Since in view of section 42 of the POCSO Act, the Court has to impose punishment for the crime of greater degree, the trial Court has rightly awarded the sentence for the commission of offence under section 376AB of the I.P.C. as the minimum sentence prescribed for such offence is twenty years. Ergo, there is no illegality or impropriety in the judgment and accordingly, the Jail Criminal Appeal being devoid of merits stands dismissed”, added the Court.
Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the conviction of the appellant.
Cause Title- Ganesh Munda @ Balabhadra Munda @ Sunidhi v. State of Odisha