Om Prakash v. State of UP

Read this case analysis to learn how the Apex Court arrived at its judgement to convict the accused when he knew that the woman was pregnant. The court also discusses whether the conviction under section 376(2)(e) was valid or not.
CITATIONAppeal (Crl) 629 of 2006
COURTSupreme Court of India
JUDGES/CORAMJustice ArijitPsayat and Justice S.H. Kapadia
DATE OF JUDGEMENT11.05.2006

Introduction

Rapists deserve the worst of the law, and the ruling meant that escape for them has become more difficult. After the judgement of Hon’ble Supreme Court in this case, a rape accused could now be convicted on the sole evidence of the victim, even if medical evidence did not prove rape.

Facts

The facts of the case are as follows: The victim, six months pregnant, was in court because her husband was facing challan proceedings. The accused was a relative of the victim and had come to attend the court proceedings of the victim’s husband. Finding her in isolation outside the Zilla Parishad, the accused tried to rape her. When the victim raised an alarm, the accused was hauled and handed over to the police station were an FIR was lodged.

Issues

The main issue in the case was: Whether the conviction under section 376(2)(e) was valid or not.

Arguments by the Parties

The appellant submitted that the prosecution version is clearly unbelievable. It is not believable that the accused who had gone to help the victim’s husband to be released on bail would commit rape on her, that too in broad day light. In any event, it was submitted that the requirements of Section 376(2)(e) were not proved.

The learned counsel for the State submitted that prosecution version has been clearly established by the cogent evidence not only by prosecution but also by PW-2 an eye- witness. It is to be noted that the appellant was caught red- handed and was taken to police station where immediately FIR was lodged.

Also Read  Mervyn Countindo & Ors. v. Collector of Customs, Bombay & Ors.

Summary of court decision and judgment

The trial and the High Court convicted the accused particularly based on the statement of the victim and the eyewitnesses and a sentence of ten years was awarded under section 376 (2) (e) for raping a pregnant women. Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by the accused with the modification of sentence by reduction from 10 years to 7 years. Supreme Court based its final decision on whether the accused had full possibility of knowing that the victim was pregnant. However, before deciding on the fundamental issue, as obiter the Supreme Court engaged in an academic discussion about placing reliance on the statement of the prosecutrix and convicting the accused.

Analysis

A closer analysis of the judgments in relation to rape cases in the course of the past fifty years reveals as to how Indian judiciary has perceived the requirement of corroborative evidence in such a nature of the offence. In the early years, the court had followed a narrower interpretation of the principle of prudence. The ruling was based on the fact that the victim of the rape is not an accomplice to the crime and her statement should be relied upon. The need for corroboration arises only in cases where the court cannot place implicit reliance on the statement of the prosecutrix. While this may hold true, one must also understand that the law can be wrongly misused with terrible consequences.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the judgment was a stepping stone to achieve the adobe for the millions of victims of this gross crime. However, it may be dangerous to hold a conviction upon the uncorroborated evidence of the alleged victim.