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  • Prachi Singh Advocate
  • Supreme Court of India

Prachi Singh Advocate B.com,LLB,MBA is practicing Lawyer/Attorney at Supreme Court of India,Delhi High Court and all Districts Courts.She is regularly drafting,Advising and contesting the matters related to Anticipatory Bail,Bail Matters,Criminal Writ Petition in High Courts,Criminal Writ Petition in Supreme Court,Criminal Appeal,Criminal Revision Petition,Quashing of Charge sheet,Quashing of FIR,Cancellation of Bail,Criminal Defence Lawyer,quashing of Proclaimed offender orders,Cases related Cyber Crimes,Cases related Cheating,Cases related Property fraud,Banking fraud cases,perjury cases,criminal defamation,Sexual Harassment Cases and all Criminal Cases..

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIP WITH

-Supreme Court Bar Association
-Delhi High Court Bar Association
-Delhi Bar Association
-Indian National Bar Association
-Associate Member of American Bar Association International Section.
-Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA)
-Associate Member of The Indian Society of International Law
-INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF FAMILY LAW

  • Leges Juris Associates
  • Advocates & Solicitors
  • A-381,Defence Colony,New Delhi-110024,
  • Phone: +91-11-40513913,9811114265

        V.K. Singh

v.k.singh_advocate_1401182791_06

 

Advocate, Supreme Court of India

Year of Professional Experience.

More than 15 Years.

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS / MEMBERSHIPS

  • Member of New Delhi Bar Association, New Delhi.
  • .Member of Delhi Bar Association ,Tis Hazari,Delhi.
  • Member of Saket Bar Association, Saket, New Delhi.
  • Member of Delhi High Court Bar Association,[DHCBA], New Delhi.

Mr. Singh is the founder member and the Managing partner of the firm, V.K.Singh & Co.. (Law Offices). He has the vide expertise over the matters related to Civil & Commercial Disputes, Family and Matrimonial Disputes, Consumer Disputes and Recovery of Debts for Banking & Financial Institutions and Alternate Dispute Resolution. He is known for his self developed and distinguished negotiation skills, extempore arguments. His experience covers a wide range of litigations, legal consultancy and arbitrations. He possesses superb drafting skill, well acclaimed consummate and effective argumentation skill and unparallel client counseling skill.

Criminal Practice Experience.

Mr.Singh has vast knowledge in Criminal Practice and advised, drafted and contested the matters of his respective clients in Bail Matters ,Dowry Cases, Narcotic Drug Cases (NDPS Cases),Criminal Trial ,Rape Cases or Sexual Harassment Cases, Fraud Cases ,Cheating Cases,EOW Cases, Anti corruption Cases, Criminal Writ Petition, Criminal Revision ,Criminal Appeal, Criminal SLP etc. .in  Hon’ble Supreme Court of India ,High Courts and all District Courts in India.

Contact :

Mobile : 91-9811645002

Email : lawofficevksingh@gmail.com

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We have gone through the FIR as well which was recorded on the basis of statement of the complainant/victim. It gives an indication that the complainant was attacked allegedly by the accused persons because of some previous dispute between the parties, though nature of dispute etc. is not stated in detail. However, a very pertinent statement appears on record viz., “respectable persons have been trying for a compromise up till now, which could not be finalized”. This becomes an important aspect. It appears that there have been some disputes which led to the aforesaid purported attack by the accused on the complainant. In this context when we find that the elders of the village, including Sarpanch, intervened in the matter and the parties have not only buried their hatchet but have decided to live peacefully in future, this becomes an important consideration. The evidence is yet to be led in the Court. It has not even started. In view of compromise between parties, there is a minimal chance of the witnesses coming forward in support of the prosecution case. Even though nature of injuries can still be established by producing the doctor as witness who conducted medical examination, it may become difficult to prove as to who caused these injuries. The chances of conviction, therefore, appear to be remote. It would, therefore, be unnecessary to drag these proceedings. We, taking all these factors  into consideration cumulatively, are of the opinion that the compromise between the parties be accepted and the criminal proceedings arising out of FIR No.121 dated 14.7.2010 registered with Police Station LOPOKE, District Amritsar Rural be quashed.

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[REPORTABLE]
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL
APPELLATE JURISDICTION CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.686/2014
(arising out of S.L.P.(Criminal) No.9547 of 2013)
Narinder Singh & Ors. ……Appellants
Vs. State of Punjab & Anr. …Respondents
J U D G M E N T

A.K.SIKRI,J. 1. The present Special Leave Petition has been preferred against the impugned judgment/final order dated 8.10.2013 passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh in Criminal Miscellaneous Petition No.27343/2013. It was a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”) for quashing of FIR No.121/14.7.2010 registered under Sections 307/324/323/34,IPC, on the basis of compromise dated 22.7.2013 entered into between the petitioners ( who are accused in the said FIR) and respondent No.2 (who is the complainant). The High Court has refused to exercise its extraordinary discretion invoking the provisions of Section 482 of the Code on the ground that four injuries were suffered by the complainant and as per the opinion of the Doctor, injury No.3 were serious in nature. The High Court, thus, refused to accept 1 Page 2 the compromise entered into between the parties, the effect whereof would be that the petitioners would face trial in the said FIR.

2. Leave granted.

3. We have heard counsel for the parties at length.

4. It may be stated at the outset that the petitioners herein, who are three in number, have been charged under various provisions of the IPC including for committing offence punishable under Section 307, IPC i.e. attempt to commit murder. FIR No.121/14.7.2010 was registered. In the aforesaid FIR, the allegations against the petitioners are that on 9.7.2010 at 7.00 A.M. while respondent No.2 was going on his motorcycle to bring diesel from village Lapoke, Jasbir Singh, Narinder Singh both sons of Baldev Singh and Baldev Singh son of Lakha Singh attacked him and injured him. Respondent No.2 was admitted in Shri Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar. After examination the doctor found four injuries on his person. Injury No.1 to 3 are with sharp edged weapons and injury No.4 is simple. From the statement of injured and MLR’s report, an FIR under sections 323/324/34 IPC was registered. After X-ray report relating to injury No.3, section 307 IPC was added in the FIR

5. After the completion of investigation, challan has been presented in the Court against the petitioners and charges have also been framed. 2 Page 3 Now the case is pending before the Ld.Trial Court, Amritsar, for evidence.

6. During the pendency of trial proceedings, the matter has been compromised between the petitioners as well as the private respondent with the intervention of the Panchayat on 12.07.2013. It is clear from the above that three years after the incident, the parties compromised the matter with intervention of the Panchayat of the village.

7. It is on the basis of this compromise, the petitioners moved aforesaid criminal petition under section 482 of the Code for quashing of the said FIR. As per the petitioners, the parties have settled the matter, as they have decided to keep harmony between them to enable them to live with peace and love. The compromise records that they have no grudge against each other and the complainant has specifically agreed that he has no objection if the FIR in question is quashed. Further, both the parties have undertaken not to indulge in any litigation against each other and withdraw all the complaints pending between the parties before the court. As they do not intend to proceed with any criminal case against each other, on that basis the submission of the petitioners before the High Court was that the continuance of the criminal proceedings in the aforesaid FIR will be a futile exercise 3 Page 4 and mere wastage of precious time of the court as well as investigating agencies.

8. The aforesaid submission, however, did not impress the High Court as the medical report depicts the injuries to be of grievous nature. The question for consideration, in these circumstances, is as to whether the court should have accepted the compromise arrived at between the parties and quash the FIR as well as criminal proceedings pending against the petitioner.

9. The ld. counsel for the State has supported the aforesaid verdict of the High Court arguing that since offence under Section 307 is noncompoundable, the respondents could not have been acquitted only because of the reason that there was a compromise/settlement between the parties. In support, the learned counsel for the respondent-State has relied upon the judgment of this Court in the case of Rajendra Harakchand Bhandari vs. State of Maharashtra (2011) 13 SCC 311 wherein this Court held that since offence under Section 307 is not compoundable, even when the parties had settled the matter, compounding of the offence was out of question. Said settlement along with other extenuating circumstances was only taken as the ground for reduction of the sentence in the following manner: “We must immediately state that the offence under Section 307 is not compoundable in terms of Section 320(9) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and, therefore, compounding of the offence in 4 Page 5 the present case is out of question. However, the circumstances pointed out by the learned Senior Counsel do persuade us for a lenient view in regard to the sentence. The incident occurred on 17.5.1991 and it is almost twenty years since then. The appellants are agriculturists by occupation and have no previous criminal background. There has been reconciliation amongst parties; the relations between the appellants and the victim have become cordial and prior to the appellants’ surrender, the parties have been living peacefully in the village. The appellants have already undergone the sentence of more than two-and-a half years. Having regard to those circumstances, we are satisfied that ends of justice will be met if the substantive sentence awarded to the appellants is reduced to the period already undergone while maintaining the amount of fine. Consequently, while confirming the conviction of the appellants for the offences punishable under Section 307 read with Section 34, Section 332 read with Section 34 and Section 353 read with Section 34, the substantive sentence awarded to them by the High Court is reduced to the period already undergone. The fine amount and the default stipulation remain as it is.”

10. The learned counsel for the appellant, on the other hand, submitted that merely because an offence is non-compoundable under Section 320 of the Code would not mean that the High Court is denuded of its power to quash the proceedings in exercising its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. He argued that Section 320(9) of the Code cannot limit or affect the power of the High Court under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. Such a power is recognized by the Supreme Court in catena of judgments. He further submitted that having regard to the circumstances in the present case where the fight had occurred on the 5 Page 6 spot in the heat of the moment inasmuch as both sides were verbally fighting when the petitioners had struck the victim, this assault was more of a crime against the individual than against the society at large. He further submitted that this Court in Dimpey Gujral v. Union Territory through Administrator 2012 AIR SCW 5333 had quashed the FIR registered under sections 147,148,149,323,307,452 and 506 of the IPC. 11. We find that there are cases where the power of the High Court under Section 482 of the Code to quash the proceedings in those offences which are uncompoundable has been recognized. The only difference is that under Section 320(1) of the Code, no permission is required from the Court in those cases which are compoundable though the Court has discretionary power to refuse to compound the offence. However, compounding under Section 320(1) of the Code is permissible only in minor offences or in non-serious offences. Likewise, when the parties reach settlement in respect of offences enumerated in Section 320(2) of the Code, compounding is permissible but it requires the approval of the Court. In so far as serious offences are concerned, quashing of criminal proceedings upon compromise is within the discretionary powers of the High Court. In such cases, the power is exercised under Section 482 of the Code and proceedings are quashed. Contours of these powers were described by this Court in B.S.Joshi vs. State of Haryana (2003) 4 SCC 675 which has been followed and 6 Page 7 further explained/elaborated in so many cases thereafter, which are taken note of in the discussion that follows hereinafter. 12. At the same time, one has to keep in mind the subtle distinction between the power of compounding of offences given to Court under Section 320 of the Code and quashing of criminal proceedings by the High Court in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction conferred upon it under Section 482 of the Code. Once, it is found that compounding is permissible only if a particular offence is covered by the provisions of Section 320 of the Code and the Court in such cases is guided solitary and squarely by the compromise between the parties, in so far as power of quashing under Section 482 of the Code is concerned, it is guided by the material on record as to whether the ends of justice would justify such exercise of power, although the ultimate consequence may be acquittal or dismissal of indictment. Such a distinction is lucidly explained by a three-Judge Bench of this Court in Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab & Anr. (2012) 10 SCC 303. Justice Lodha, speaking for the Court, explained the difference between the two provisions in the following manner: “Quashing of offence or criminal proceedings on the ground of settlement between an offender and victim is not the same thing as compounding of offence. They are different and not interchangeable. Strictly speaking, the power of compounding of offences given to a court under Section 320 is materially different from the quashing of criminal 7 Page 8 proceedings by the High Court in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction. In compounding of offences, power of a criminal court is circumscribed by the provisions contained in Section 320 and the court is guided solely and squarely thereby while, on the other hand, the formation of opinion by the High Court for quashing a criminal offence or criminal proceeding or criminal complaint is guided by the material on record as to whether the ends of justice would justify such exercise of power although the ultimate consequence may be acquittal or dismissal of indictment. B.S.Joshi, Nikhil Merchant, Manoj Sharma and Shiji do illustrate the principle that the High Court may quash criminal proceedings or FIR or complaint in exercise of its inherent power under Section 482 of the Code and Section 320 does not limit or affect the powers of the High Court under Section 482. Can it be said that by quashing criminal proceedings in B.S.Joshi, Nikhil Merchant, Manoj Sharma and Shiji this Court has compounded the non-compoundable offences indirectly? We do not think so. There does exist the distinction between compounding of an offence under Section 320 and quashing of a criminal case by the High Court in exercise of inherent power under Section 482. The two powers are distinct and different although the ultimate consequence may be the same viz. acquittal of the accused or dismissal of indictment.” 13. Apart from narrating the interplay of Section 320 and Section 482 of the Code in the manner aforesaid, the Court also described the extent of power under Section 482 of the Code in quashing the criminal proceedings in those cases where the parties had settled the matter although the offences are not compoundable. In the first instance it was emphasized that the power under Sec. 482 of the Code is not to be resorted to, if there is specific provision in the Code for redressal of the grievance of an aggrieved party. It should be exercised very sparingly 8 Page 9 and should not be exercised as against the express bar of law engrafted in any other provision of the Code. The Court also highlighted that in different situations, the inherent power may be exercised in different ways to achieve its ultimate objective. Formation of opinion by the High Court before it exercises inherent power under Section 482 on either of the twin objectives, (i) to prevent abuse of the process of any court, or (ii) to secure the ends of justice, is a sine qua non. 14. As to under what circumstances the criminal proceedings in a non-compoundable case be quashed when there is a settlement between the parties, the Court provided the following guidelines: “Where the High Court quashes a criminal proceeding having regard to the facts that the dispute between the offender and the victim has been settled although the offences are not compoundable, it does so as in its opinion, continuation of criminal proceedings will be an exercise in futility and justice in the case demands that the dispute between the parties is put to an end and peace is restored; securing the ends of justice being the ultimate guiding factor. No doubt, crimes are acts which have harmful effect on the public and consist in wrongdoing that seriously endangers and threatens the well-being of the society and it is not safe to leave the crime-doer only because he and the victim have settled the dispute amicably or that the victim has been paid compensation, yet certain crimes have been made compoundable in law, with or without the permission of the court. In respect of serious offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. or other offences of mental depravity under IPC or offences of moral turpitude under special statutes, like the Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by public servants while working in that 9 Page 10 capacity, the settlement between the offender and the victim can have no legal sanction at all. However, certain offences which overwhelmingly and predominantly bear civil flavor having arisen out of civil, mercantile, commercial, financial, partnership or such like transactions or the offences arising out of matrimony, particularly relating to dowry, etc. or the family dispute, where the wrong is basically to the victim and the offender and the victim have settled all disputes between them amicably, irrespective of the fact that such offences have not been made compoundable, the High Court may within the framework of its inherent power, quash the criminal proceeding or criminal complaint or FIR if it is satisfied that on the face of such settlement, there is hardly any likelihood of the offender being convicted and by not quashing the criminal proceedings, justice shall be casualty and ends of justice shall be defeated. The above list is illustrative and not exhaustive. Each case will depend on its own facts and no hard-and-fast category can be prescribed.” Thereafter, the Court summed up the legal position in the following words: “The position that emerges from the above discussion can be summarized thus: the power of the High Court in quashing a criminal proceeding or FIR or complaint in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction is distinct and different from the power given to a criminal court for compounding the offences under Section 320 of the Code. Inherent power is of wide plentitude with no statutory limitation but it has to be exercised in accord with the guidelines engrafted in such power viz.: (i) to secure the ends of justice, or (ii) to prevent abuse f the process of any court. In what cases power to quash the criminal proceeding or complaint or FIR may be exercised where the offender and the victim have settled their dispute would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case and no category can be prescribed. However, before exercise of such 10 Page 11 power, the High Court must have due regard to the nature and gravity of the crime. Heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. cannot be fittingly quashed even though the victim or victim’s family and the offender have settled the dispute. Such offences are not private in nature and have a serious impact on society. Similarly, any compromise between the victim and the offender in relation to the offences under special statutes like the Prevention of Corruption Act, or the offences committed by public servants while working in that capacity, etc.; cannot provide for any basis for quashing criminal proceedings involving such offences. But the criminal cases having overwhelmingly and predominatingly civil flavor stand on a different footing for the purposes of quashing, particularly the offences arising from commercial, financial, mercantile, civil, partnership or such like transactions or the offences arising out of matrimony relating to dowry, etc. or the family disputes where the wrong is basically private or personal in nature and the parties have resolved their entire dispute. In this category of cases, the High Court may quash the criminal proceedings if in its view, because of the compromise between the offender and the victim, the possibility of conviction is remote and bleak and continuation of the criminal case would put the accused to great oppression and prejudice and extreme injustice would be caused to him by not quashing the criminal case despite full and complete settlement and compromise with the victim. In other words, the High Court must consider whether it would be unfair or contrary to the interest of justice to continue with the criminal proceeding or continuation of the criminal proceeding or continuation of the criminal proceeding would tantamount to abuse of process of law despite settlement and compromise between the victim and the wrongdoer and whether to secure the ends of justice, it is appropriate that the criminal case is put to an end and if the answer to the above question(s) is in the affirmative, the High Court shall be well within its jurisdiction to quash the criminal proceeding.” 11 Page 12 15. The Court was categorical that in respect of serious offences or other offences of mental depravity or offence of merely dacoity under special statute, like the Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by Public Servant while working in that capacity. The mere settlement between the parties would not be a ground to quash the proceedings by the High Court and inasmuch as settlement of such heinous crime cannot have imprimatur of the Court.

16. The question is as to whether offence under Section 307 IPC falls within the aforesaid parameters. First limb of this question is to reflect on the nature of the offence. The charge against the accused in such cases is that he had attempted to take the life of another person (victim). On this touchstone, should we treat it a crime of serious nature so as to fall in the category of heinous crime, is the poser.

17. Finding an answer to this question becomes imperative as the philosophy and jurisprudence of sentencing is based thereupon. If it is heinous crime of serious nature then it has to be treated as a crime against the society and not against the individual alone. Then it becomes the solemn duty of the State to punish the crime doer. Even if there is a settlement/compromise between the perpetrator of crime and the victim, that is of no consequence. Law prohibits certain acts and/or conduct and treats them as offences. Any person committing those acts is subject to penal consequences which may be of various kind. 12 Page 13 Mostly, punishment provided for committing offences is either imprisonment or monetary fine or both. Imprisonment can be rigorous or simple in nature. Why those persons who commit offences are subjected to such penal consequences? There are many philosophies behind such sentencing justifying these penal consequences. The philosophical/jurisprudential justification can be retribution, incapacitation, specific deterrence, general deterrence, rehabilitation, or restoration. Any of the above or a combination thereof can be the goal of sentencing. Whereas in various countries, sentencing guidelines are provided, statutorily or otherwise, which may guide Judges for awarding specific sentence, in India we do not have any such sentencing policy till date. The prevalence of such guidelines may not only aim at achieving consistencies in awarding sentences in different cases, such guidelines normally prescribe the sentencing policy as well namely whether the purpose of awarding punishment in a particular case is more of a deterrence or retribution or rehabilitation etc.

18. In the absence of such guidelines in India, Courts go by their own perception about the philosophy behind the prescription of certain specified penal consequences for particular nature of crime. For some deterrence and/or vengeance becomes more important whereas another Judge may be more influenced by rehabilitation or restoration as the goal of sentencing. Sometimes, it would be a combination of both which would weigh in the mind of the Court in awarding a 13 Page 14 particular sentence. However, that may be question of quantum. What follows from the discussion behind the purpose of sentencing is that if a particular crime is to be treated as crime against the society and/or heinous crime, then the deterrence theory as a rationale for punishing the offender becomes more relevant, to be applied in such cases. Therefore, in respect of such offences which are treated against the society, it becomes the duty of the State to punish the offender. Thus, even when there is a settlement between the offender and the victim, their will would not prevail as in such cases the matter is in public domain. Society demands that the individual offender should be punished in order to deter other effectively as it amounts to greatest good of the greatest number of persons in a society. It is in this context that we have to understand the scheme/philosophy behind Section 307 of the Code

. 19. We would like to expand this principle in some more detail. We find, in practice and in reality, after recording the conviction and while awarding the sentence/punishment the Court is generally governed by any or all or combination of the aforesaid factors. Sometimes, it is the deterrence theory which prevails in the minds of the Court, particularly in those cases where the crimes committed are heinous in nature or depicts depravity, or lack morality. At times it is to satisfy the element of “emotion” in law and retribution/vengeance becomes the guiding factor. In any case, it cannot be denied that the purpose of punishment 14 Page 15 by law is deterrence, constrained by considerations of justice. What, then, is the role of mercy, forgiveness and compassion in law? These are by no means comfortable questions and even the answers may not be comforting. There may be certain cases which are too obvious namely cases involving heinous crime with element of criminality against the society and not parties inter-se. In such cases, the deterrence as purpose of punishment becomes paramount and even if the victim or his relatives have shown the virtue and gentility, agreeing to forgive the culprit, compassion of that private party would not move the court in accepting the same as larger and more important public policy of showing the iron hand of law to the wrongdoers, to reduce the commission of such offences, is more important. Cases of murder, rape, or other sexual offences etc. would clearly fall in this category. After all, justice requires long term vision. On the other hand, there may be, offences falling in the category where “correctional” objective of criminal law would have to be given more weightage in contrast with “deterrence” philosophy. Punishment, whatever else may be, must be fair and conducive to good rather than further evil. If in a particular case the Court is of the opinion that the settlement between the parties would lead to more good; better relations between them; would prevent further occurrence of such encounters between the parties, it may hold settlement to be on a better pedestal. It is a delicate balance between the two inflicting interests which is to be achieved by the Court after 15 Page 16 examining all these parameters and then deciding as to which course of action it should take in a particular case.

20. We may comment, at this stage, that in so far as the judgment in the case of Bhandari (supra) is concerned, undoubtedly this Court observed that since offence under Section 307 is not compoundable in terms of Section 320(9) of the Cr.P.C., compounding of the offence was out of question. However, apart from this observation, this aspect is not discussed in detail. Moreover, on reading para 12 of the said judgment, it is clear that one finds that counsel for the appellant in that case had not contested the conviction of the appellant for the offence under Section 307 IPC, but had mainly pleaded for reduction of sentence by projecting mitigating circumstances.

21. However, we have some other cases decided by this Court commenting upon the nature of offence under Section 307 of IPC. In Dimpey Gujral case (supra), FIR was lodged under sections 147,148,149,323,307,552 and 506 of the IPC. The matter was investigated and final report was presented to the Court under Section 173 of the Cr.P.C. The trial court had even framed the charges. At that stage, settlement was arrived at between parties. The court accepted the settlement and quashed the proceedings, relying upon the earlier judgment of this Court in Gian Singh vs. State of Punjab & Anr. 2012 AIR SCW 5333 wherein the court had observed that inherent powers under 16 Page 17 section 482 of the Code are of wide plentitude with no statutory limitation and the guiding factors are: (1) to secure the needs of justice, or (2) to prevent abuse of process of the court. While doing so, commenting upon the offences stated in the FIR, the court observed: “Since the offences involved in this case are of a personal nature and are not offences against the society, we had enquired with learned counsel appearing for the parties whether there is any possibility of a settlement. We are happy to note that due to efforts made by learned counsel, parties have seen reason and have entered into a compromise.” This Court, thus, treated such offences including one under section 307, IPC were of a personal nature and not offences against the society.

22. On the other hand, we have few judgments wherein this Court refused to quash the proceedings in FIR registered under section 307 IPC etc. on the ground that offence under section 307 was of serious nature and would fall in the category of heinous crime. In the case of Shiji vs. Radhika & Anr. (2011) 10 SCC 705 the Court quashed the proceedings relating to an offence under section 354 IPC with the following observations: “We have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the impugned order. Section 320 of the Cr.P.C. enlists offences that are compoundable with the permission of the Court before whom the prosecution is pending and those that can be compounded even without such permission. An offence punishable under 17 Page 18 Section 354 of the IPC is in terms of Section 320(2) of the Code compoundable at the instance of the woman against whom the offence is committed. To that extent, therefore, there is no difficulty in either quashing the proceedings or compounding the offence under Section 354, of which the appellants are accused, having regard to the fact that the alleged victim of the offence has settled the matter with the alleged assailants. An offence punishable under Section 394 IPC is not, however, compoundable with or without the permission of the Court concerned. The question is whether the High Court could and ought to have exercised its power under section 482 the said provision in the light of the compromise that the parties have arrived at.” 23. In a recent judgment in the case of State of Rajasthan vs. Shambhu Kewat & Ors. 2013 (14) SCALE 235, this very Bench of the Court was faced with the situation where the High Court had accepted the settlement between the parties in an offence under Section 307 read with Section 34 IPC and set the accused at large by acquitting them. The settlement was arrived at during the pendency of appeal before the High Court against the order of conviction and sentence of the Sessions Judge holding the accused persons guilty of the offence under Section307/34 IPC. Some earlier cases of compounding of offence under Section 307 IPC were taken note of, noticing under certain circumstances, the Court had approved the compounding whereas in certain other cases such a course of action was not accepted. In that case, this Court took the view that High Court was not justified in accepting the compromise and setting aside the conviction. While doing so, following discussion ensued: 18 Page 19 “We find, in this case, such a situation does not arise. In the instant case, the incident had occurred on 30.10.2008. The trial court held that the accused persons, with common intention, went to the shop of the injured Abdul Rashid on that day armed with iron rod and a strip of iron and, in furtherance of their common intention, had caused serious injuries on the body of Abdul Rashid, of which injury number 4 was on his head, which was of a serious nature. Dr.Rakesh Sharma, PW5, had stated that out of the injuries caused to Abdul Rashid, injury No.4 was an injury on the head and that injury was “grievous and fatal for life”. PW8, Dr. Uday Bhomik, also opined that a grievous injury was caused on the head of Abdul Rashid. DR. Uday conducted the operation on injuries of Abdul Rashid as a Neuro Surgeon and fully supported the opinion expressed by PW5 Dr. Rakesh Sharma that injury No.4 was “grievous and fatal for life”. We notice that the gravity of the injuries was taken note of by the Sessions Court and it had awarded the sentence of 10 years rigorous imprisonment for the offence punishable under Section 307 IPC, but not by the High Court. The High Court has completely overlooked the various principles laid down by this Court in Gian Singh (Supra), and has committed a mistake in taking the view that, the injuries were caused on the body of Abdul Rashid in a fight occurred at the spur and the heat of the moment. It has been categorically held by this Court in Gian Singh (supra) that the Court, while exercising the power under Section 482, must have “due regard to the nature and gravity of the crime” and “the social impact”. Both these aspects were completely overlooked by the High Court. The High Court in a cursory manner, without application of mind, blindly accepted the statement of the parties that they had settled their disputes and differences and took the view that it was a crime against “an individual”, rather than against “the society at large”. We are not prepared to say that the crime alleged to have been committed by the accused 19 Page 20 persons was a crime against an individual, on the other hand it was a crime against the society at large. Criminal law is designed as a mechanism for achieving social control and its purpose is the regulation of conduct and activities within the society. Why Section 307 IPC is held to be non-compoundable, because the Code has identified which conduct should be brought within the ambit of non-compoundable offences. Such provisions are not meant, just to protect the individual, but the society as a whole. High Court was not right in thinking that it was only an injury to the person and since the accused persons had received the monetary compensation and settled the matter, the crime as against them was wiped off. Criminal justice system has a larger objective to achieve, that is safety and protection of the people at large and it would be a lesson not only to the offender, but to the individuals at large so that such crimes would not be committed by any one and money would not be a substitute for the crime committed against the society. Taking a lenient view on a serious offence like the present, will leave a wrong impression about the criminal justice system and will encourage further criminal acts, which will endanger the peaceful co-existence and welfare of the society at large.”

24. Thus, we find that in certain circumstances, this Court has approved the quashing of proceedings under section 307,IPC whereas in some other cases, it is held that as the offence is of serious nature such proceedings cannot be quashed. Though in each of the aforesaid cases the view taken by this Court may be justified on its own facts, at the same time this Court owes an explanation as to why two different approaches are adopted in various cases. The law declared by this Court in the form of judgments becomes binding precedent for the High Courts and the subordinate courts, to follow under Article 141 of the 20 Page 21 Constitution of India. Stare Decisis is the fundamental principle of judicial decision making which requires ‘certainty’ too in law so that in a given set of facts the course of action which law shall take is discernable and predictable. Unless that is achieved, the very doctrine of stare decisis will lose its significance. The related objective of the doctrine of stare decisis is to put a curb on the personal preferences and priors of individual Judges. In a way, it achieves equality of treatment as well, inasmuch as two different persons faced with similar circumstances would be given identical treatment at the hands of law. It has, therefore, support from the human sense of justice as well. The force of precedent in the law is heightened, in the words of Karl Llewellyn, by “that curious, almost universal sense of justice which urges that all men are to be treated alike in like circumstances”.

25. As there is a close relation between the equality and justice, it should be clearly discernible as to how the two prosecutions under Section 307 IPC are different in nature and therefore are given different treatment. With this ideal objective in mind, we are proceeding to discuss the subject at length. It is for this reason we deem it appropriate to lay down some distinct, definite and clear guidelines which can be kept in mind by the High Courts to take a view as to under what circumstances it should accept the settlement between the parties and quash the proceedings and under what circumstances it 21 Page 22 should refrain from doing so. We make it clear that though there would be a general discussion in this behalf as well, the matter is examined in the context of offences under Section 307 IPC. 26. The two rival parties have amicably settled the disputes between themselves and buried the hatchet. Not only this, they say that since they are neighbours, they want to live like good neighbours and that was the reason for restoring friendly ties. In such a scenario, should the court give its imprimatur to such a settlement. The answer depends on various incidental aspects which need serious discourse. The Legislators has categorically recognized that those offences which are covered by the provisions of section 320 of the Code are concededly those not only do not fall within the category of heinous crime but also which are personal between the parties. Therefore, this provision recognizes whereas there is a compromise between the parties the Court is to act at the said compromise and quash the proceedings. However, even in respect of such offences not covered within the four corners of Section 320 of the Code, High Court is given power under Section 482 of the Code to accept the compromise between the parties and quash the proceedings. The guiding factor is as to whether the ends of justice would justify such exercise of power, both the ultimate consequences may be acquittal or dismissal of indictment. This is so recognized in various judgments taken note of above. 22 Page 23

27. In the case of Dimpey Gujral (supra), observations of this Court to the effect that offences involved in that case were not offences against the society. It included charge under Section 307 IPC as well. However, apart from stating so, there is no detained discussion on this aspect. Moreover, it is the other factors which prevailed with the Court to accept the settlement and compound he offence, as noted above while discussing this case. On the other hand, in Shambhu Kewat (supra), after referring to some other earlier judgments, this Court opined that commission of offence under Section 307 IPC would be crime against the society at large, and not a crime against an individual only. We find that in most of the cases, this view is taken. Even on first principle, we find that an attempt to take the life of another person has to be treated as a heinous crime and against the society. 28. Having said so, we would hasten to add that though it is a serious offence as the accused person(s) attempted to take the life of another person/victim, at the same time the court cannot be oblivious to hard realities that many times whenever there is a quarrel between the parties leading to physical commotion and sustaining of injury by either or both the parties, there is a tendency to give it a slant of an offence under Section 307 IPC as well. Therefore, only because FIR/Chargesheet incorporates the provision of Section 307 IPC would not, by itself, be a ground to reject the petition under section 482 of the Code and refuse to accept the settlement between the parties. We are, therefore, 23 Page 24 of the opinion that while taking a call as to whether compromise in such cases should be effected or not, the High Court should go by the nature of injury sustained, the portion of the bodies where the injuries were inflicted (namely whether injuries are caused at the vital/delicate parts of the body) and the nature of weapons used etc. On that basis, if it is found that there is a strong possibility of proving the charge under Section 307 IPC, once the evidence to that effect is led and injuries proved, the Court should not accept settlement between the parties. On the other hand, on the basis of prima facie assessment of the aforesaid circumstances, if the High Court forms an opinion that provisions of Section 307 IPC were unnecessary included in the charge sheet, the Court can accept the plea of compounding of the offence based on settlement between the parties.

29. At this juncture, we would like also to add that the timing of settlement would also play a crucial role. If the settlement is arrived at immediately after the alleged commission of offence when the matter is still under investigation, the High Court may be somewhat liberal in accepting the settlement and quashing the proceedings/investigation. Of course, it would be after looking into the attendant circumstances as narrated in the previous para. Likewise, when challan is submitted but the charge has not been framed, the High Court may exercise its discretionary jurisdiction. However, at this stage, as mentioned above, since the report of the I.O. under Section 173,Cr.P.C. is also placed 24 Page 25 before the Court it would become the bounding duty of the Court to go into the said report and the evidence collected, particularly the medical evidence relating to injury etc. sustained by the victim. This aspect, however, would be examined along with another important consideration, namely, in view of settlement between the parties, whether it would be unfair or contrary to interest of justice to continue with the criminal proceedings and whether possibility of conviction is remote and bleak. If the Court finds the answer to this question in affirmative, then also such a case would be a fit case for the High Court to give its stamp of approval to the compromise arrived at between the parties, inasmuch as in such cases no useful purpose would be served in carrying out the criminal proceedings which in all likelihood would end in acquittal, in any case.

30. We have found that in certain cases, the High Courts have accepted the compromise between the parties when the matter in appeal was pending before the High Court against the conviction recorded by the trial court. Obviously, such cases are those where the accused persons have been found guilty by the trial court, which means the serious charge of Section 307 IPC has been proved beyond reasonable doubt at the level of the trial court. There would not be any question of accepting compromise and acquitting the accused persons simply because the private parties have buried the hatchet. 25 Page 26

31. In view of the aforesaid discussion, we sum up and lay down the following principles by which the High Court would be guided in giving adequate treatment to the settlement between the parties and exercising its power under Section 482 of the Code while accepting the settlement and quashing the proceedings or refusing to accept the settlement with direction to continue with the criminal proceedings: (I) Power conferred under Section 482 of the Code is to be distinguished from the power which lies in the Court to compound the offences under Section 320 of the Code. No doubt, under Section 482 of the Code, the High Court has inherent power to quash the criminal proceedings even in those cases which are not compoundable, where the parties have settled the matter between themselves. However, this power is to be exercised sparingly and with caution. (II)When the parties have reached the settlement and on that basis petition for quashing the criminal proceedings is filed, the guiding factor in such cases would be to secure: (i) ends of justice, or (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of any Court. While exercising the power the High Court is to form an opinion on either of the aforesaid two objectives. 26 Page 27 (III) Such a power is not be exercised in those prosecutions which involve heinous and serious offences of mental depravity or offences like murder, rape, dacoity, etc. Such offences are not private in nature and have a serious impact on society. Similarly, for offences alleged to have been committed under special statute like the Prevention of Corruption Act or the offences committed by Public Servants while working in that capacity are not to be quashed merely on the basis of compromise between the victim and the offender. (IV) On the other, those criminal cases having overwhelmingly and pre-dominantly civil character, particularly those arising out of commercial transactions or arising out of matrimonial relationship or family disputes should be quashed when the parties have resolved their entire disputes among themselves. (V) While exercising its powers, the High Court is to examine as to whether the possibility of conviction is remote and bleak and continuation of criminal cases would put the accused to great oppression and prejudice and extreme injustice would be caused to him by not quashing the criminal cases. (VI) Offences under Section 307 IPC would fall in the category of heinous and serious offences and therefore is to be generally treated as crime against the society and not against the individual alone. However, the High Court would not rest its decision merely because there is a mention of Section 307 IPC in the FIR or the 27 Page 28 charge is framed under this provision. It would be open to the High Court to examine as to whether incorporation of Section 307 IPC is there for the sake of it or the prosecution has collected sufficient evidence, which if proved, would lead to proving the charge under Section 307 IPC. For this purpose, it would be open to the High Court to go by the nature of injury sustained, whether such injury is inflicted on the vital/delegate parts of the body, nature of weapons used etc. Medical report in respect of injuries suffered by the victim can generally be the guiding factor. On the basis of this prima facie analysis, the High Court can examine as to whether there is a strong possibility of conviction or the chances of conviction are remote and bleak. In the former case it can refuse to accept the settlement and quash the criminal proceedings whereas in the later case it would be permissible for the High Court to accept the plea compounding the offence based on complete settlement between the parties. At this stage, the Court can also be swayed by the fact that the settlement between the parties is going to result in harmony between them which may improve their future relationship. (VII) While deciding whether to exercise its power under Section 482 of the Code or not, timings of settlement play a crucial role. Those cases where the settlement is arrived at immediately after the alleged commission of offence and the matter is still under investigation, the High Court may be liberal in accepting the settlement to quash the 28 Page 29 criminal proceedings/investigation. It is because of the reason that at this stage the investigation is still on and even the charge sheet has not been filed. Likewise, those cases where the charge is framed but the evidence is yet to start or the evidence is still at infancy stage, the High Court can show benevolence in exercising its powers favourably, but after prima facie assessment of the circumstances/material mentioned above. On the other hand, where the prosecution evidence is almost complete or after the conclusion of the evidence the matter is at the stage of argument, normally the High Court should refrain from exercising its power under Section 482 of the Code, as in such cases the trial court would be in a position to decide the case finally on merits and to come a conclusion as to whether the offence under Section 307 IPC is committed or not. Similarly, in those cases where the conviction is already recorded by the trial court and the matter is at the appellate stage before the High Court, mere compromise between the parties would not be a ground to accept the same resulting in acquittal of the offender who has already been convicted by the trial court. Here charge is proved under Section 307 IPC and conviction is already recorded of a heinous crime and, therefore, there is no question of sparing a convict found guilty of such a crime. 32. After having clarified the legal position in the manner aforesaid, we proceed to discuss the case at hand. 29 Page 30

33. In the present case, FIR No.121 dated 14.7.2010 was registered under Section 307/324/323/34 IPC. Investigation was completed, whereafter challan was presented in the court against the petitioner herein. Charges have also been framed; the case is at the stage of recording of evidence. At this juncture, parties entered into compromise on the basis of which petition under Section 482 of the Code was filed by the petitioners namely the accused persons for quashing of the criminal proceedings under the said FIR. As per the copy of the settlement which was annexed along with the petition, the compromise took place between the parties on 12.7.2013 when respectable members of the Gram Panchayat held a meeting under the Chairmanship of Sarpanch. It is stated that on the intervention of the said persons/Panchayat, both the parties were agreed for compromise and have also decided to live with peace in future with each other. It was argued that since the parties have decided to keep harmony between the parties so that in future they are able to live with peace and love and they are the residents of the same village, the High Court should have accepted the said compromise and quash the proceedings. 34. We find from the impugned order that the sole reason which weighed with the High Court in refusing to accept the settlement between the parties was the nature of injuries. If we go by that factor alone, normally we would tend to agree with the High Court’s approach. However, as pointed out hereinafter, some other attendant and 30 Page

31 inseparable circumstances also need to be kept in mind which compel us to take a different view

. 35. We have gone through the FIR as well which was recorded on the basis of statement of the complainant/victim. It gives an indication that the complainant was attacked allegedly by the accused persons because of some previous dispute between the parties, though nature of dispute etc. is not stated in detail. However, a very pertinent statement appears on record viz., “respectable persons have been trying for a compromise up till now, which could not be finalized”. This becomes an important aspect. It appears that there have been some disputes which led to the aforesaid purported attack by the accused on the complainant. In this context when we find that the elders of the village, including Sarpanch, intervened in the matter and the parties have not only buried their hatchet but have decided to live peacefully in future, this becomes an important consideration. The evidence is yet to be led in the Court. It has not even started. In view of compromise between parties, there is a minimal chance of the witnesses coming forward in support of the prosecution case. Even though nature of injuries can still be established by producing the doctor as witness who conducted medical examination, it may become difficult to prove as to who caused these injuries. The chances of conviction, therefore, appear to be remote. It would, therefore, be unnecessary to drag these proceedings. We, taking all these factors  into consideration cumulatively, are of the opinion that the compromise between the parties be accepted and the criminal proceedings arising out of FIR No.121 dated 14.7.2010 registered with Police Station LOPOKE, District Amritsar Rural be quashed. We order accordingly.

36. Appeal is allowed. No costs. ……………………………

…J. (K.S.Radhakrishnan) ………………………………J. (A.K.Sikri) New Delhi,

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY, NAGPUR BENCH, NAGPUR

Criminal Application No.663 of 2008

And

Criminal Writ Petition No.58 of 2008

Criminal Application No.663 of 2008

Smt. Gita w/o Chandrashekhar Pandit,

Aged about 47 years,

Occ.: Nil,

R/o Gorelal Chowk,

Tah. & District Gondia. … Applicant

Versus

Shri Chaqndrashekhar s/o Rameshwar

Pandit,

Aged about 49 years,

Occ.: Legal Practitioner,

R/o Nandurbar,

Tah. & District Nandurbar. … Non-Applicant

Shri S.V. Sirpurkar, Advocate for Applicant. Shri S.P. Bhandarkar, Advocate for Non-Applicant.

Criminal Writ Petition No.58 of 2008

Chandrashekhar s/o Rameshawar Pandit,

Aged 49 years,

Occ.: Advocate,

R/o Nandurbar,

Tahsil Nandurbar,

District Nandurbar. … Petitioner

Versus

2

Sushree Geeta d/o Ramnath Sharma,

(earlier Smt. Geeta w/o Chandrashekhar Pandit), Aged Major,

Occ.: Landlady,

R/o Bazar Chowk,

Gondia. … Respondent

Shri S.P. Bhandarkar, Advocate for Petitioner. Shri S.V. Sirpurkar, Advocate for Respondent.

CORAM : R.C. Chavan, J.

Date of Reserving the Judgment : 13-1-2009.

Date of Pronouncing the judgment : 20-1-2009

Judgment :

1. These proceedings by wife and husband respectively

against each other raise a short legal point.

2. It is not in dispute that Gita was married to

Chandrashekhar, an Advocate on 8-12-1985. Marital discord led

Gita to seek maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of

Criminal Procedure by an application made in the year 1987. By

an order dated 19-11-1992, Gita was granted maintenance at the

rate of Rs.500/- per month. In 1990, Chandrashekhar filed a 3

petition for decree of divorce from Gita on the ground of cruelty.

Decree of divorce was granted finality by judgment

dated 1-3-2001 in Second Appeal No.129 of 1999 decided by

Aurangabad Bench of this Court.

3. It may be useful to recount how this litigation

proceeded. Petition for divorce by husband on the ground of

cruelty was contested by wife, who also filed a counter-claim for

restitution of conjugal rights. The Trial Court as well as the First

Appellate Court rejected husband’s claim for divorce and decreed

wife’s claim for restitution of conjugal rights, as may be seen from

copy of decree in Hindu Marriage Petition No.76 of 1987 of Court

of Civil Judge, Senior Division, Dhule, re-numbered as Hindu

Marriage Petition No.2 of 1990 in the Court of Civil Judge, Senior

Division, Nandurbar, which was included in the compilation filed

by husband. In spite of the fact that the decree specifically

recounts that wife had made a counter-claim for restitution of

conjugal rights and had paid court fee of Rs.37.50 (37.50 ?) on

the said counter-claim, which is also duly included in the bill of 4

costs, a substantial question of law seems to have been raised in

the following words as can be seen from para 6 of the judgment in

Second Appeal :-

“(ii) Whether in the absence of any prayer for restitution of conjugal rights, it was open for the courts below to pass a decree for restitution of conjugal rights against the appellant ?”

4. The learned counsel for husband, arguing the Second

Appeal, reiterated this, as may be seen from para 13 of the

judgment. Up to para 31, the judgment recounts arguments

advanced. In paras 32 to 35, there is discussion about

disobedience to decree for restitution of conjugal rights operating

as a bar for husband’s getting decree of divorce. In para 36, the

judgment considers ground of cruelty on account of false

complaints. The Court observed that in Second Appeal, the Court

would not re-appreciate evidence. The Court then proceeded to

hold that both the Courts below had perversely held that cruelty 5

was not proved, in the following words in para 37 :

“37. Another aspect of “mental cruelty” is with regard to the false allegation regarding impotency of appellant husband and making this allegation in public is also a serious act of “cruelty”. Therefore, I am of the clear view that both the lower appellate Courts have acted perversely in arriving at a finding that husband had failed to establish “cruelty” entitling him to a decree of dissolution of marriage, especially when the same is coupled with the factor of irretrievable breakdown of marriage over a long period.”

5. In para 39, about absence of prayer for restitution of

conjugal rights, the Court observes as under :

“39. In this context, it will also be noted that both the Courts below had admittedly granted a decree for restitution of conjugal rights, without there being any prayer made in that behalf by respondent-wife, which substantial question of law also, I answer in favour of the Appellant.”

6

Ultimately, the Court granted decree of divorce on the ground of

cruelty “coupled with the factor of irretrievable breakdown of

marriage”.

6. This account of the litigation speaks volumes about the

manner in which matters are conducted in this Court. Either

there was really no counter-claim for restitution of conjugal rights

by the wife, and in that case, the learned counsel for husband,

who has placed copy of decree of Civil Court for my perusal,

would have to ask himself if a wrong copy was placed before this

Court and why. If the copy is indeed the correct copy, it would be

a sad comment on the assistance of officers of the Court to Judges.

In that case, the husband’s counsel would not only have raised a

false ground in the Second Appeal that there was no claim for

restitution of conjugal rights, but would have falsely reiterated the

same, leading the Court to accept it – a case of suppresio veri as

well as suggestio falsi. If there was claim for restitution of

conjugal rights by the wife, and decree for the same was reversed 7

in Second Appeal erroneously holding that there was no such

claim, the plight of wife could well be imagined.

7. Reverting to the facts which led the parties to this Court

in the present proceeding, Gita filed an application bearing

No.113 of 2000 for enhancement of maintenance from Rs.500/- to

Rs.1,500/- per month before the learned Judicial Magistrate First

Class, Gondia. Chandrashekhar too filed Application No.82 of

2001 for cancellation of order of maintenance in view of the fact

that decree of divorce was passed on his petition. By common

judgment dated 19-7-2007, the learned Judicial Magistrate First

Class rejected husband’s application and allowed wife’s application

partly, increasing maintenance allowance to Rs.1,250/- per month

by common judgment dated 19-7-2007. Revision applications by

both the parties were dismissed by common judgment dated 20-

11-2007 by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Gondia.

8. Aggrieved thereby, the husband has filed Criminal Writ

Petition No.58 of 2008 seeking quashing of order directing him to

pay maintenance, and the wife has filed Criminal Application 8

No.663 of 2008 for enhancement of maintenance allowance to

Rs.5,000/- per month.

9. I have heard the learned counsel for both the husband

and wife.

10. The learned counsel for husband relied on a judgment

of Division Bench of this Court in Bhagwan Raoji Dale v. Sushma

alias Nanda Bhagwan Dale and another, reported at 1998(2)

Mh.L.J. 819, upon a reference by a learned Single Judge where

the Bench held that when the husband had obtained a decree for

restitution of conjugal rights, which the wife failed to comply

leading to a decree of divorce, such wife would not be entitled to

maintenance as she would not fall under any of the two categories

in Explanation (b) to Section 125(1) of the Code of Criminal

Procedure. Explanation (b) to Section 125(1) of the Code of

Criminal Procedure reads as under :-

“(b) “wife” includes a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from her husband 9

and has not remarried.”

In Sharadchandra Satbhai v. Indubai Satbhai, reported at 1978

Mh.L.J. 123 (with which the learned Single Judge disagreed), the

Court held that even a divorced wife was entitled to maintenance,

but this right was subject to sub-section (4) of Section 125, which

inter alia disentitles a wife, who, without sufficient reason,

refused to live with her husband. In that case, wife was held to

have deserted her husband without reasonable cause and his

petition for judicial separation on this ground had been decreed.

The learned Single Judge felt that this was in conflict with

pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Bai Tahira v. Ali Hussain

Fissalli Chothia, reported at 1979 Mh.L.J. 95. Bai Tahira had been

divorced by her husband in July 1962. The Apex Court held that

she was entitled to maintenance.

11. The Division Bench in Bhagwan Raoji considered both

these judgments, as also the significance of the expression in

Explanation (b) to Section 125(1) of the Code of Criminal 10

Procedure, viz. “who has been divorced by” or “has obtained

divorce from”, which has been again used in clauses (c) and (d) of

Section 127(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Division

Bench then considered whether the respondent before them could

claim benefit of extended definition of ‘wife’ in Explanation (b) to

Section 125(1), since she had suffered an ex parte decree of

restitution of conjugal rights on 31-7-1979, followed by ex parte

decree of divorce on 3-12-1980 for failure to comply with decree

for restitution of conjugal rights in spite of husband’s filing an

execution proceeding. The Division Bench then held as under in

paras 16 and 17 of the judgment :

“16. A close scrutiny of the phraseology used in clause (b) of the Explanation to section 125(1) shows that it is in two parts. The first part deals with a wife who has been divorced by her husband which, in our view would, normally, apply to parties professing the Muslim religion or whereunder a customary law applicable to some Hindus, the husband is entitled to unilaterally divorce the wife. This is because the words used are that the “woman 11

has been divorced by the husband”. The second part deals with the case whether the wife has obtained a divorce from her husband. This contemplates the wife moving the court for a decree for divorce and the wife obtaining a decree for divorce from her husband. Undoubtedly, in either of the two situations falling is clause (b), the wife has not remarried. If this is the true interpretation of clause (b) of the Explanation, then in our view, the respondents’s case cannot fall under the said clause (b). On the date when the Magistrate passed the order in the application under section 125 viz. on 3rd May, 1993, the respondent was a divorcee. But she was not falling in any of the two categories contemplated by Explanation (b) of section 125(1). In our view, therefore, the respondent cannot draw any support from the ratio of the decision of the Apex Court in Bai Tahira’s case.”

“17. In the light of what we have stated above, we do not think that the view taken by the Division Bench of this Court in Sharadchandra Satbhai’s case requires reconsideration. As stated earlier, in Sharadchandra Satbhai’s case also, as in the present case, the wife left the matrimonial home. The husband filed a suit for judicial 12

separation and obtained a decree on the ground that the wife had deserted. Relying upon this fact, the learned Magistrate had dismissed the application under section 125 for maintenance. The Revisional Court had allowed the wife’s application against which the husband had approached this court. This court allowed the husband’s application and, in the result, dismissed the wife’s application for maintenance. While arriving at its conclusion, the Division Bench in Sharadchandra Satbhai’s case considered the effect Explanation (b) to section 125(1) as also sub-section (4) of section 125. Para 8 of the judgment at page 126 may usefully be reproduced :

“8. It is, however, open to a wife who is unable to maintain herself and her husband has sufficient means to maintain her but nevertheless neglects or refuses to do so, to make an application under section 125, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, and seek an order for maintenance, subject to the conditions and limitations of that section. Explanation (b) of section 125(1) clarifies that even if she is a divorcee, she can claim maintenance provided she is not remarried. Sub-section (4) disentitles a wife to receive allowance 13

in certain cases, one of them being “if, without any sufficient reason, she refused to live with her husband”. This sub-section governs the whole of section 125. Now, in a case like the present one, when the Civil Court has determined the issue of desertion and held that the wife has left her husband without reasonable cause and against his wish and without his consent can it be said that she is still entitled to maintenance under section 125 and not hit by sub-section (4)? It is plain and simple that she has refused to live with her husband without any sufficient reason and, therefore, disentitled herself to receive maintenance under section 125. The effect of the decree for judicial separation on this particular ground of desertion cannot be overlooked by the Magistrate dealing with an application under section 125 because he has to bear in mind the disability created by sub-section (4) of that section. The fact that a decree for judicial separation has been passed in favour of the husband on the ground of desertion means that the wife is guilty of refusing to live with her husband. In our judgment, Indubai is not entitled to maintenance under section 125, Criminal 14

Procedure Code, 1973, as she had no reasonable ground not to live with her husband. The approach of the learned Additional Sessions Judge overlooks the object and purpose of sub-section (1) of section 125. It is true that a divorcee is entitled to approach the Magistrate under section 125 for speedy remedy. So could a wife against whom a decree for judicial separation is passed, but a wife who has deserted her husband within the meaning of the Explanation to section 10(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, as discussed above, is not entitled to apply under section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973″.

We are in respectful agreement with the view expressed by the Division Bench in Sharadchandra Satbhai’s case.”

12. The Division Bench then took a review of several

judgments on the subject. In paras 27, 31 and 32, the Court then

concluded as under :

“27. It appears to us further that if the wife is at fault and if the husband succeeds in obtaining a decree for 15

restitution of conjugal rights, as long as the marriage subsists, the wife would not be entitled to claim maintenance in view of sub-section (4) of section 125. Would it, then be permissible to saddle the husband with maintenance if such a wife has been divorced pursuant to a decree passed by a competent court as a result of the failure on the part of the wife to obey the decree for restitution of conjugal rights. In our view the answer must be in the negative. Granting maintenance to such a wife would be tantamount to permiitting a person to take advantages of one’s own wrong. Finding of the Civil Courts in the two matrimonial petitions, one for restitution of conjugal rights and other for divorce is that the wife was in the wrong. That finding has not been challenged in a superior court. The two decrees are final. We must, therefore, proceed on the footing that the wife was in the wrong. In our view, therefore, she is not entitled to maintain an application by taking advantages of the extended meaning in Explanation (b) to section 125(1) of the Code.”

“31. In the light of the above discussion, we may sum up our conclusion as under. It is not every divorced wife 16

who can claim maintenance under section 125(1) of the Code. A woman who has been divorced by her husband is included in the first part of Explanation (b) to section 125(1). She can claim maintenance under section 125(1). In this category would normally, fall the case of a Muslim woman who has been unilaterally divorced by her husband in accordance with Muslim Personal law. This category may also include a woman who, under the customary law applicable to some Hindus, has been unilaterally divorced by her husband. The second category falling under Explanation (b) to section 125(1), who can claim maintenance under the said section, consists of a woman who has obtained divorce from her husband, meaning thereby that the wife has initiated proceedings for obtaining divorce from the husband, as indicated in para 24 above. In this view of the matter, we are of the opinion that the Division Bench decision of this court in Sharadchandra Satbhai vs. Indubai Satbhai, 1978 Mh.L.J. 123, does not require reconsideration and we are in agreement with the ratio of the said decision. We also approve of the decision rendered by three learned Single Judges of this Court in the three cases discussed above (i) Baburao Kalaskar’s case, decided by Puranik, J. 17

(para 18 above), (ii) Smt. Shantabai Saitwal’s case, decided by Mehta, J. (para 19 above) and (iii) Kalidas Shinde’s case, decided by Deshpande, J. (para 20 above). We are unable to persuade ourselves to agree with the view expressed by Vaidya, J. in Smt. Sugandhabai vs. Vasant Deobhat, 1992 Cri.L.J. 1838. For the reason discussed above, we are not in agreement with the view expressed by Vaidya, J. in the said case.”

“32. In the view that we have taken, the question referred for our decision must be answered against the respondent-wife. In our view, in the facts and circumstances of the case, where the husband had obtained a decree for restitution of conjugal rights and the wife had failed to comply with the said decree resulting in the husband obtaining a decree for divorce, the respondent-wife does not fall in any of the two categories contemplated by Explanation (b) to section 125(1) of the Code. In the circumstances, the application for maintenance made by the wife was liable to be rejected as not maintainable. Since we have come to the conclusion that the application of the respondent-wife was not maintainable in law, it is not necessary for us to refer 18

the case back to a learned Single Judge since nothing remains to be decided on merits of the matter.”

In separate but concurring judgment in para 38, an Hon’ble Judge,

who was a member of the Bench, observed as under :-

“38. The next thing which we have to consider is whether the case of such a wife or woman can fall in the first limb of explanation (b). Here also the answer should be in the negative for the simple reason that the wording used by the legislature is not a woman against whom a decree of divorce was obtained by her husband but the woman who has been divorced by her husband. If the legislature had wanted to include a woman against whom a decree of divorce is obtained by her husband, the legislature would have used the appropriate phraseology to cover such woman as done in the second limb of the explanation to cover the case of a woman who herself obtains divorce from her husband. The fact that different phraseology has been used for the first limb of explanation (b) would mean that the legislature never intended to include woman against whom decree of 19

divorce was obtained by her husband from a Court of law by proving some fault on the part of the wife. The words used by the legislature in the said explanation would not justify different interpretation. On the contrary, the words are very clear which do not include a woman whose marriage has been dissolved by decree of divorce at the instance of her husband. If the interpretation which was placed by some of the Courts is accepted so as to include woman against whom divorce was obtained by her husband from a Court of law, it would certainly lead to a very anomalous situation. If such a woman against whom decree of divorce was obtained by the husband is included in the extended definition of wife under section 125(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure it would mean that the woman who was wrong doer or was guilty of desertion or cruelty against her husband would be entitled to claim maintenance after a decree of divorce is passed against her, though undisputedly, she would not be entitled for maintenance before such divorce was granted by virtue of sub-section (4) of section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. To hold that a woman against whom a decree of divorce was obtained by the husband is entitled for maintenance, would go not only 20

against the express words of explanation (b) to section 125(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure but also would create an anomalous situation as pointed out above. Happily the legislature itself has taken care to see that such incongruous position does not arise by using appropriate phraseology.”

13.. The learned counsel for husband also relied on a

judgment of the same Hon’ble Single Judge in Satyawan Laxman

Jagtap v. Vimal Satyawan Jagtap and others, reported at 2000(1)

Mh.L.J. 419, where similar view was taken.

14. The learned counsel for wife submitted that this view

may no longer be regarded as good law in view of categorical

pronouncement of the Apex Court in Rohtash Singh v. Ramendri

(Smt) and others, reported at (2000) 3 SCC 180. Parties were

married on 10-5-1980. In 1991, wife left husband’s house and

refused to return. Husband filed a petition for dissolution of

marriage on the ground of desertion. On 15-7-1995, the Family

Court granted a decree of divorce on the ground of desertion. 21

Wife had claimed maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of

Criminal Procedure. Family Court granted maintenance in spite of

decree of divorce on the ground of desertion. High Court

dismissed husband’s revision leading to his filing Special Leave

Petition before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. It was specifically

argued that in the face of decree of divorce on the ground of

desertion, in view of provisions of Section 125(4) of the Code of

Criminal Procedure, maintenance could not be granted. It may be

useful to quote the observations of the Apex Court in paras 6 to 12

of the judgment which squarely deal with the questions raised in

the present case :-

“6. Under this provision, a wife is not entitled to any maintenance allowance from her husband if she is living in adultery or if she has refused to live with her husband without any sufficient reason or if they are living separately by mutual consent. Thus, all the circumstances contemplated by sub-section (4) of Section 125 Cr.P.C. presuppose the existence of matrimonial relations. The provision would be applicable where the marriage between the parties subsists and not where it has come to 22

an end. Taking the three circumstances individually, it will be noticed that the first circumstance on account of which a wife is not entitled to claim maintenance allowance from her husband is that she is living in adultery. Now, adultery is the sexual intercourse of two persons, either of whom is married to a third person. This clearly supposes the subsistence of marriage between the husband and wife and if during the subsistence of marriage, the wife lives in adultery, she cannot claim maintenance allowance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.”

“7. The second ground on which she would not be entitled to maintenance allowance is the ground of her refusal to live with her husband without any sufficient reason. This also presupposes the subsistence of marital relations between the parties. If the marriage subsists, the wife is under a legal and moral obligation to live with her husband and to fulfil the marital obligations. She cannot, without any sufficient reason, refuse to live with her husband. “Sufficient reasons” have been interpreted differently by the High Courts having regard to the facts of individual cases. We are not required to go into that 23

question in the present case as admittedly the marriage between the parties came to an end on account of a decree for divorce having been passed by the Family Court. Existence of sufficient cause on the basis of which the respondent could legitimately refuse to live with the petitioner is not relevant for the present case. In this situation, the only question which survives for consideration is whether a wife against whom a decree for divorce has been passed on account of her deserting the husband can claim maintenance alloowance under Section 125 CrPC and how far can the plea of desertion be treated to be an effective plea in support of the husband’s refusal to pay her the maintenance allowance.”

“8. Admittedly, in the instant case, the respondent is a divorced wife. The marriage ties between the parties do not subsist. The decree for divorce was passed on 15-7- 1995 and since then, she is under no obligation to live with the petitioner. But though the marital relations came to an end by the divorce granted by the Family Court under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the respondent continues to be a “wife” within the meaning of Section 125 CrPC on accodunt of Explanation (b) to sub- 24

section (1) which provides as under :

“Explanation.–For the purposes of this chapter– (a) * * *

(b) ‘wife’ includes a woman who has been divorced by, or has obtained a divorce from, her husband and has not remarried.”

“9. On account of the explanation quoted above, a woman who has been divorced by her husband on account of a decree passed by the Family Court under the Hindu Marriage Act, continues to enjoy the status of a wife for the limited purpose of claiming maintenance allowance from her ex-husband. This Court in Capt. Ramesh Chander Kaushal v. Veena Kaushal observed as under : (SCC p. 74, para 9)

“9. This provision is a measure of social justice and specially enacted to protect women and children and falls within the constitutional sweep of Article 15(3) reinforced by Article 39. We have no doubt that sections of statutes calling for construction by courts are not petrified print but vibrant words with social functions to fulfil. The brooding presence of the constitutional empathy for the weaker sections like 25

women and children must inform interpretation if it has to have social relevance. So viewed, it is possible to be selective in picking out that interpretation out of two alternatives which advance the cause – the cause of the derelicts.”

“10 Claim for maintenance under the first part of Section 125 CrPC is based on the subsistence of marriage while claim for maintenance of a divorced wife is based on the foundation provided by Explanation (b) to sub- section (1) of Section 125 CrPC. If the divorced wife is unable to maintain herself and if she has not remarried, she will be entitled to maintenance allowance. The Calcutta High Court had an occasion to consider an identical situation where the husband had obtained divorce on the ground of desertion by the wife but she was held entitled to maintenance allowance as a divorced wife under Section 125 CrPC and the fact that she had deserted her husband and on that basis a decree for divorce was passed against her was not treated as a bar to her claim for maintenance as a divorced wife. (See: Sukumar Dhibar v. Anjali Dasi). The Allahabad High Court also, in the instant case, has taken a similar view. 26

We approve these decisions as they represent the correct legal position.”

“11. Learned counsel for the petitioner then submitted that once a decree for divorce was passed against the respondent and marital relations between the petitioner and the respondent came to an end, the mutual rights, duties and obligations should also come to an end. He pleaded that in this situation, the obligation of the petitioner to maintain a woman with whom all relations came to an end should also be treated to have come to an end. This plea, as we have already indicated above, cannot be accepted as a woman has two distinct rights for maintenance. As a wife, she is entitled to maintenance unless she suffers from any of the disabilities indicated in Section 125(4). In another capacity, namely, as a divorced woman, she is again entitled to claim maintenance from the person of whom she was once the wife. A woman after divorce becomes a destitute. If she cannot maintain herself or remains unmarried, the man who was once her husband continues to be under a statutory duty and obligation to provide maintenance to her.”

27

“12. Learned counsel for the petitioner then contended that the maintenance has been allowed to the respondent from the date of the application. The application under Section 125 CrPC was filed by the respondent during the pendency of the civil suit for divorce under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act. It is contended that since the decree of divorce was passed on the ground of desertion by the respondent, she would not be entitled to maintenance for any period prior to the passing of the decree under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act. To that extent, the learned counsel appears to be correct. But for that short period, we would not be inclined to interfere.”

In view of this pronouncement of the Supreme Court, it is not

necessary to refer to the judgments of Kerala, Himachal Pradesh,

Delhi and Orissa High Courts, which were cited by the learned

counsel for the wife.

15. It may be seen that the Apex Court has held that even a

wife, who is divorced on the ground of desertion, is entitled to

maintenance and she does not get disentitled under sub-section 28

(4) of Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code. Thus

the very basis of the judgment of the Division Bench in

Sharadchandra Satbhai v. Indubai Satbhai, reported at 1978

Mh.L.J. 123, which was approved by the Division in Bhagwan

Raoji Dale v. Sushma alias Nanda Bhagwan Dale and another,

reported in 1998(2) Mh.L.J. 819, goes away. In Sharadchandra,

the wife was held disentitled to maintenance specifically on

account of the provisions of Section 125(4) of the Code. In fact

Sharadchandra is not an authority for the interpretation sought to

be put on expression used in Explanation (b) to Section 125(1) of

the Code. There is absolutely no warrant for concluding that a

woman “who has been divorced” refers to only women who have

been divorced under the Mulsim Law or customary law, or that

woman “who has obtained a divorce from her husband” refers to

only those wives who have obtained a decree of divorce. since the

Explanation (b) was intended to include divorced wives and since

apart from judicial proceedings, divorce is also possible according

to personal or customary law applicable to parties. A woman 29

“who has been divorced” would include any woman who has been

divorced not only according to personal or customary law, but one

who has been divorced on a decree in proceeding initiated by her

husband. And, the expression “a woman who has obtained

divorce” would not be restricted to only those wives who apply for

a decree of divorce (as has been observed in para 16 of the

judgment in Bhagwan Raoji – 1998(2) Mh.L.J. 819) but may also

include those who can and do obtain divorce under customary or

personal law. It may be recalled that even under Mohamadan

Law, “Khula” is a form of divorce granted at the instance of a

Mulsim wife. The distinction sought to be made in paras 16 and

38 of the judgment in Bhagwan Raoji can no longer be held as

good law since it cannot stand with the conclusion drawn by the

Supreme Court in Rohtash Singh v. Ramendri (Smt) and others,

reported at (2000) 3 SCC 180.

16. The learned counsel for husband submitted even if a

wife, who is divorced on the ground of desertion, is held entitled

to maintenance, the same may not hold good in respect of a wife 30

divorced on the ground of her cruelty (Cruelty in the present case

is her allegation that husband is impotent). First, the phraseology

used in Explanation (b) to Section 125(1) of the Code would not

admit of creating classes of divorced wives. A divorced wife is a

divorced wife, whatever may be the reasons for divorce and

whatever may be the procedure adopted or forum chosen. If wife

divorced on the ground of desertion, who has a better reason to be

disentitled, because a husband cannot be said to have refused or

neglected to maintain her, is held entitled to maintenance as

divorced wife, since she herself deprived husband of the chance to

maintain her, wives divorced for other reasons would certainly be

entitled to be maintained, since as held by the Supreme Court in

Rohtash Singh, (i) such woman, being a divorced wife in terms of

Explanation (b) to Section 125(1) of the Code would be deemed

to be ‘wife’; (ii) such a woman would be under no obligation to

reside with the husband, having been divorced; and (iii) would

therefore be entitled to separate maintenance. In view of this,

husband’s petition challenging grant of maintenance to his wife on 31

the ground that having been divorced on account of cruelty, she is

not entitled to maintenance, would have to be dismissed. It may

be useful to recall that in the Second Appeal, this Court had found

it necessary to take the support of irretrievable breakdown of

marriage also to prop up the case of cruelty for granting divorce.

17. As for wife’s application for enhancing maintenance

allowance to Rs.5,000/- per month, both the Courts below, upon

consideration of evidence tendered, have held her entitled to

Rs.1,250/- per month. The findings are in tune with the facts

proved and do not call for any interference in exercise of inherent

powers under Section 482 of the Code. She could always apply

for increase of maintenance allowance by making out a case for

such increase in the Trial Court. Hence, even this application has

to be rejected.

18. Both Criminal Application No.663 of 2008 and Criminal

Writ Petition No.58 of 2008 are dismissed.

Delhi High Court: While dealing with a case where seven persons were falsely implicated for committing rape on the prosecutrix by threatening her that they will kill her brother and display the photograph (in which she was being raped) in front of her house, a division bench on G.S. Sistani and S.D. Sehgal JJ.  held that no doubt the rape cases cause great distress and humiliation to the victims of rape, but at the same time false allegation of committing rape also causes humiliation and damage to the accused, as the accused also has right which has to be protected and the possibility of false implication has to be ruled out.

In the instant case, the testimony of the prosecutrix is not natural and consistent with the case of the prosecution. Her version has no correlation with other supporting material being medical, scientific and expert evidence. After rescanning the entire case in its right perspective, we are of the firm view if the evidence of the prosecutrix is read and considered in totality of the circumstances alongwith the other evidence on record, in which the offence is alleged to have been committed, we are of the view that her deposition does not inspire confidence. The version of the prosecutrix has not been corroborated with medical evidence and has not disclosed the true genesis of the crime.

————————————————————-

 IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

     Judgment reserved on 22.05.2015
    Judgment delivered on 29.05.2015
+ Crl. A. 660/1999
ROHIT BANSAL                             ..... Appellant
                     Through : Mr. Rajeev Gaur Naseem, Advocate.
                      Versus
STATE                                             ..... Respondent
                Through : Mr. Feroz Khan Ghazi, APP for the State


+ Crl. A. 661/1999
BALBIR @ BALLI                                    ..... Appellant
                Through : Mr. M. L. Yadav, Advocate.
                      Versus
STATE                        ..... Respondent
                Through : Mr. Feroz Khan Ghazi, APP for the State


+ Crl. A. 677/1999
ANIL RAWAT & ORS.                                 ..... Appellants
                Through : Mr. M. L. Yadav, Advocate.
                      Versus
STATE                                             ..... Respondent
                Through : Mr. Feroz Khan Ghazi, APP for the State


+ Crl. A. 678/1999
MUKESH @ BITTOO                                   ..... Appellants
                Through : Mr. Rajeev Gaur Naseem, Advocate.
                      Versus
STATE                        ..... Respondent
                Through : Mr. Feroz Khan Ghazi, APP for the State




Crl. Appeal Nos. 660/1999, 661/1999, 677/1999, 678/1999 & 692/1999     Page 1 of 47
 + Crl. A. 692/1999
PARVEEN KUMAR                                                     ..... Appellant
                Through :                 Mr. Vikas Pahwa, Senior Advocate with
                                          Ms. Aeshna Dahiya, Advocate.
                                Versus
STATE                                     ..... Respondent
                       Through :          Mr. Feroz Khan Ghazi, APP for the State

  CORAM:
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE G.S. SISTANI
HON'BLE MS. JUSTICE SANGITA DHINGRA SEHGAL
G. S. SISTANI, J.

1. Present appeals arise out of a common judgment dated 03.12.1999 and order on sentence dated 08.12.1999 passed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi whereby the appellant Parveen was sentenced to undergo life imprisonment for an offence punishable under Section 376 (2) (g) of the Indian Penal Code with a fine of Rs.5,000/- and in default of payment of fine to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year. Other six appellants viz. Mukesh @ Bittoo, Ajay Singh, Sunil Sharma, Balbir @ Balli, Anil Rawat and Rohit Bansal were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for ten years for an offence punishable under Section 376 (2) (g) of the Indian Penal Code and a fine of Rs.5,000/- each and in default of payment of fine each of the appellant to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year. Appellant Parveen was also sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year for an offence punishable under Section 342 of the Indian Penal Code. Appellant Parveen, Bittoo, Anil Rawat and Sunil were further sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year for an offence punishable under Section 506 (II) read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. All the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

2. Brief facts of the case, as noticed by the learned Trial Court, are as under:

“(i) The case of the prosecution is that on 7.9.94 Inspector Prithvi Singh, Inspector Raj Mohinder Singh alongwith ACP were called at the office of DCP Crime Branch. There DCP Crime Branch instructed them to meet one Sh. Nand Kishore Taneja at premises No. 148 Preet Vihar and proceed with the case if the facts reveal the commission of a cognizable offence.

(ii) These officers reached at the said house. There they recorded the statements of prosecutrix.

(iii) She stated that she was residing at the aforesaid address alongwith her parents and is doing a course of interior designing at South Delhi Polytechnique. As a routine she comes upto Laxmi Nagar in a rickshaw and from there she took U-Spl. for South Extension. She developed intimacy with one Parveen who was residing at premises No. A-137 Preet Vihar. One day said Parveen took her to Connaught Place on the house of his friend Bittoo. Then Parveen committed rape upon her after threatening her. Bittoo, friend of Parveen had also sexual intercourse with her against her consent. Parveen took her photograph while Bittoo was committing rape upon her. However, she came to know about it. Later on when Parveen showed her photograph to her on the same day, she became very much scared and asked Parveen to return photograph. Upon this, Parveen replied that only he knew about this secret and Bittoo was his friend. Parveen also promised to marry her at the earliest. So, she did not disclosed this fact to anybody.

(iv) Thereafter accused Parveen had been blackmailing her. Parveen had been telephoning her and that is why she had been meeting him openly. In the first week of April, 94, Parveen took her to under-construction flats of a Society near Patparganj Depot after alluring and threatening her. There Sunil, Anil Rawat @ Anni, Bittoo and one more boy (whom she did not know but can identify him) met her and had sexual intercourse with her against her consent. Those boys placed the negative of thesaid photograph before her and told her that if she wants the said negative back, she had to succumb to their advances. Even after committing rape, these persons did not return the negative to the complainant. When she asked for it, they threatened to kill her brother. Hence, she did not disclose anything at her house.

(v) On 17.7.94 Parveen called her, on the pretext of returning the negative to her, at Coffee House. Parveen took her on his motor cycle to Noida i.e. in an office in an under construction building. There Anil Rawat @ Anni, Bittoo and Sunil were already present. All these boys committed rape upon her. During the rape, two of the boys had caught her. She dis-engaged herself and started crying. Parveen became scared and made the other boys to stop this. She came to her house in a bus. She was threatened that her brother will be killed. Parveen had been threatening on telephone that he will get made the poster of her photograph and get the same sticked at South Extension and near her house.

(vi) On 5.9.97 Parveen met her at Bengal Sweets, South Extension and compelled her to accompany him after showing her the said photograph. Parveen sweared that this time he will return the photograph and negative to her and they will not do anything with her. So, she had to accompany Parveen. Parveen took her in an office at second floor of a building at Darya Ganj. There a revolver and an open knife were lying on the table. There, Rohit and one more boy (whom she could identify and who was the owner of the office) were already present. Parveen told her that this was the last time and they shall not trouble her again and they would return her photograph and negative. Then all these three boys committed rape upon her turn by turn and told her that in the evening her photograph and negative will be returned. Complainant threatened to commit suicide in case her negative and photograph are not returned. Parveen sweared that at that time he had no photograph and negative with him and shall return the same at 7.30 PM near Universal Public School. So, at the appointed time she reached there. There Parveen showed her photograph and negative and compelled her to have sex with him and one Balli @ Pappu (who was already there) Parveen also committed rape upon her. Still, Parveen did not return the photograph and negative to her. Both of them left the said place on motor cycle threatening that they will spoil her brother and sisters. She was so scared that she did not tell all this episode. As she was scared and weeping in the night, her mother asked her the reason for the same. As her mother asked repeatedly, she told everything to her. Her mother conveyed the same to her father. She could identify all those places where she was raped.

(vii) Upon the statement of the prosecutrix a case U/s 506/342/376/34 IPC was registered. The prosecutrix was medically examined at SDN Hospital. Her vaginal swab was seized. The prosecutrix also produced her salvar, shirt and underwear which were also sealed and seized.

(viii) I.O. recorded the statements of other witnesses. On the pointing out of complainant, accused persons Parveen, Mukesh @ Bittoo, Ajay Singh were arrested. Rest of the accused persons Sunil Sharma, Balbir, Anil Rawat were arrested on 10.9.94 from different places. All the accused persons were medically examined and their semen samples were taken. Their disclosure statements were also recorded.

(ix) On the pointing out of accused persons, one photograph wherein Mukesh @ Bittoo was committing rape upon the prosecutrix, was recovered from the house of Parveen. The same was seized. On the pointing out of accused Parveen again, a camera, vide which the said photograph was taken was also recovered. The exhibits of the case were sent to FSL, Chandigarh. Report of CFSL was not received till the filing of the challan.

(x) The statement of the prosecutrix was also recorded U/s 164 Cr.P.C. The accused persons also pointed out the places of committing rape. After completing necessary formalities, the challan was filed U/s 342/506/501/366/376/376 (2) (G)/120-B IPC.”

3. The prosecution, in the course of the trial, relied upon the testimonies of 13 witnesses and also placed on record several exhibits. After the prosecution evidence, the learned Trial Court examined the appellants under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

Appellant Parveen stated that since Preeti started loitering with some other boys, he refused to marry her and for this reason she falsely named him in this case. He also stated that FIR against them was registered with the connivance Sh. Markandey Singh, Ex-LG, who was a friend of the grandfather of the prosecutrix.

Appellant Mukesh @ Bittoo claimed to be falsely implicated. He stated that he had not committed any crime and he was lifted from his house by the police. He further stated that he did not have any house in Connaught Place as alleged by the prosecution and he also denied his photograph. Moreover, he came to know the appellant Parveen in June, 1994, when he came to his workshop for getting his scooter repaired.

Appellant Ajay Kumar also pleaded innocence and stated that he had been falsely implicated in this case by the prosecutrix and her parents.

Appellant Balbir Singh pleaded innocence. He stated that on 09.09.94 at about 5/6 a.m., he was going to Sanjay Lake along with his friend for a morning walk and a car came there in which four persons were seated. They enquired from him about Flat No. 561, Mayur Vihar and he showed his ignorance on which they started abusing him and some altercation took place. One person alighted from the car and caught him by his collar and forcibly push him inside the car. Thereafter, they went to the house of Parveen from where he was also lifted and ultimately brought to Police Station Adarsh Nagar and falsely implicated in this case.

Appellant Anil Rawat stated that before the registration of this case, prosecutrix was residing in his neighbourhood at Mangal Bazar, Laxmi Nagar and she had affairs with one Gagan and Kapil. He further stated that prosecutrix also had an affair with Parveen and she suspected Anil that he had informed Parveen about her affairs with Gagan and Kapil and had a grudge for this and also named him in this case and got him falsely implicated.

Appellant Sunil Sharma and Rohit Bansal stated that they had been falsely implicated at the behest of the prosecutrix.

Two defence witnesses were got examined by the appellants.

4. Appellant Ajay Singh expired during the pendency of the appeal therefore his appeal stands abated.

5. Mr. Vikas Pahwa, Senior Advocate appearing for appellant Parveen Kumar has assailed the impugned judgment on several counts being that the prosecutrix was an unchaste woman, having illicit relationship with many boys and the court below erred in not appreciating properly the evidence of the defence witnesses examined by the appellant. Elaborating his arguments, Mr. Pahwa contends that the prosecutrix had been confronted on large number of issues/facts with her statement recorded under Section 161 of Code of Criminal Procedure and embellishments/improvements are of such a large magnitude that her statement itself becomes unreliable. It is further argued that the sole testimony of prosecutrix is totally unreliable as well as full of material contradictions, concealment, improvements, exaggerations, inconsistencies and thereby does not inspire confidence and creates a genuine doubt about her version. Mr. Pahwa further added that in a case where sole testimony of the prosecutrix does not inspire confidence and corroboration, it is to be read in its totality and if the same is found improbable, in such case her testimony becomes liable to be rejected. In support of his contention, counsel relied upon the case of Rai Sandeep @ Deepu Vs. State : (2012) 8 SCC 21, wherein it has been held that :

“15. In our considered opinion, the ‘sterling witness’ should be of a very high quality and caliber whose version should, therefore, be unassailable. The Court considering the version of such witness should be in a position to accept it for its face value without any hesitation. To test the quality of such a witness, the status of the witness would be immaterial and what would be relevant is the truthfulness of the statement made by such a witness. What would be more relevant would be the consistency of the statement right from the starting point till the end, namely, at the time when the witness makes the initial statement and ultimately before the Court. It should be natural and consistent with the case of the prosecution qua the accused. There should not be any prevarication in the version of such a witness. The witness should be in a position to withstand the cross-examination of any length and strenuous it may be and under no circumstance should give room for any doubt as to the factum of the occurrence, the persons involved, as well as, the sequence of it. Such a version should have co-relation with each and everyone of other supporting material such as the recoveries made, the weapons used, the manner of offence committed, the scientific evidence and the expert opinion. The said version should consistently match with the version of every other witness. It can even be stated that it should be akin to the test applied in the case of circumstantial evidence where there should not be any missing link in the chain of circumstances to hold the accused guilty of the offence alleged against him. Only if the version of such a witness qualifies the above test as well as all other similar such tests to be applied, it can be held that such a witness can be called as a ‘sterling witness’ whose version can be accepted by the Court without any corroboration and based on which the guilty can be punished. To be more precise, the version of the said witness on the core spectrum of the crime should remain intact while all other attendant materials, namely, oral, documentary and material objects should match the said version in material particulars in order to enable the Court trying the offence to rely on the core version to sieve the other supporting materials for holding the offender guilty of the charge alleged.”

Reliance has also been placed on Krishan Kumar Malik Vs. State : (2011) 7 SCC 130, where Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that :

“31. No doubt, it is true that to hold an accused guilty for commission of an offence of rape, the solitary evidence of prosecutrix is sufficient provided the same inspires confidence and appears to be absolutely trustworthy, unblemished and should be of sterling quality. But, in the case in hand, the evidence of the prosecutrix, showing several lacunae, have already been projected hereinabove, would go to show that her evidence does not fall in that category and cannot be relied upon to hold the Appellant guilty of the said offences. Indeed there are several significant variations in material facts in her Section 164 statement, Section161 statement (Code of Criminal Procedure), FIR and deposition in Court.

32. Thus, it was necessary to get her evidence corroborated independently, which they could have done either by examination of Ritu, her sister or Bimla Devi, who were present in the house at the time of her alleged abduction. Record shows that Bimla Devi though cited as a witness was not examined and later given up by the public prosecutor on the ground that she has been won over by the Appellant.”

Similarly in the case of State of Rajasthan Vs. Babu Meen : (2013) 2 SCALE 479, it has been held :

“8. We do not have the slightest hesitation in accepting the broad submission of Mr. Jain that the conviction can be based on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix, if found to be worthy of credence and reliable and for that no corroboration is required. It has often been said that oral testimony can be classified into three categories, namely (i) wholly reliable, (ii) wholly unreliable and (iii) neither wholly reliable nor wholly unreliable. In case of wholly reliable testimony of a single witness, the conviction can be founded without corroboration. This principle applies with greater vigour in case the nature of offence is such that it is committed in seclusion. In case prosecution is based on wholly unreliable testimony of a single witness, the court has no option than to acquit the accused.

9. In the background of the aforesaid legal position, when we consider the case in hand we are of the opinion that the statement of the prosecutrix is not at all reliable or in other words wholly unreliable. No other evidence has been led to support the allegation of rape. Hence, it shall be unsafe to base the conviction on her sole testimony. In her evidence she had stated that she was subjected to rape at 12.00 noon when her sister Jitendra, the wife of the accused had gone to purchase milk. However, during the course of investigation she alleged that she was subjected to rape at 06.30 A.M. When confronted with the aforesaid contradiction in the cross-examination, she could not explain the aforesaid discrepancy. Her statement that she shouted for help when she was subjected to rape also does not find support from the evidence of Ramchandra Salvi (PW-11), the owner of the house where the incident is alleged to have taken place. Dr. Smt. Sushila (PW-12), has also not supported the allegation of rape as also the Forensic Science Laboratory Report. In the face of what we have observed above, the evidence of the prosecutrix cannot be said to be wholly reliable.

6. Secondly, Mr. Pahwa contended that there was delay in registration of FIR, which was registered on 07.09.1994 whereas the alleged first incident took place in January, 1994. It is argued that the unexplained inordinate delay of nine months in registration of the FIR raises a grave doubt in the highly belated version of the prosecutrix and the possibility of false implication cannot be ruled out. In support of his contention, Mr. Pahwa relied upon Surjan and Others Vs. State of M.P. : (2002) 10 SCC 214, wherein it has been held that :

“The inordinate delay in lodging the complaint before the police, i.e. 10 days, has not even been attempted to be explained. Even when she was examined as a witness in the Court, no question was put to her on that long delay. In a case where six indicated persons should be visited with a minimum sentence of 10 years’ RI, the Court cannot afford to act on the uncorroborated testimony of the prosecutrix unless the said evidence is wholly reliable. When looked at the testimony of PW1 from all the different angles highlighted above, we are unable to hold that has testimony is wholly reliable. In such a situation, materials for corroborating the testimony of PW1 could not be obviated. But unfortunately there is none.”

In the case of Ram Dass and Others Vs. State of Maharashtra : (2007) 2 SCC 170, the Apex Court observed that :

“Thus mere delay in lodging of the report may not by itself be fatal to the case of the prosecution, but the delay has to be considered in the background of the facts and circumstances in each case and is a matter of appreciation of evidence by the court of fact.”

7. Thirdly, Mr. Pahwa contended that the allegation made by the prosecutrix has been shattered and have fallen flat by the medical evidence which clearly indicates that there was no sign of external injury on the body of the prosecutrix. It is further contended that where the oral evidence of the prosecutrix is not supported by the medical evidence, moreover it is dangerous to punish the accused for rape solely on the basis of her oral evidence. In support of his contention, counsel relied upon the case of Pratap Mishra Vs. State of Orissa : (1977) 3 SCC 41, wherein it has been held :

“9. Another aspect of the matter is that where there has been any real resistance there is bound to be local injury and marks of violence on the body and the limbs of the victim. Taylor in his book Principles and Practice of Medical Jurisprudence, Vol. II, observes thus at p. 64:

Nevertheless, it is most likely that when there has been some real resistance, local injury will be apparent and probably also marks of violence on the body and limbs.

Although according to the prosecutrix, three persons raped her with great force and violence resulting in great pain to her and her breasts becoming swollen and red and other injuries, yet when she was examined by the Doctor P.W. 8 only after 16 to 17 hours of the occurrence, the Doctor found no marks of injuries on her body at all. In this connection P.W. .& has categorically stated thus:

I examined her (P.W. 1) at 5-15 p. m. on 20-4-1972. There was no injury or bruise mark on the breasts or chest There was no injury mark on the face, thighs and over the whole body.

If the story of the prosecutrix was true, then we should have expected an injury or bruise-mark on the breasts or chest or on the thighs or other part of the body. The learned Sessions Judge, with whom the High Court has agreed, seems to have brushed aside this important circumstance on the ground that as the prosecutrix was examined by the Doctor on April 20, 1972, at about 5 P. M about 17 hours after the occurrence injuries may have disappeared and has relied on an observation of Taylor at p. 66 of his book which runs as follows:

Injuries from rape may soon disappear or become obscure, especially in women who have been used to sexual intercourse.

The Sessions Judge explained that as the prosecutrix was habituated to sexual intercourse injuries may have disappeared. While referring to one part of the observation of Taylor, the learned Sessions Judge has completely lost sight of the other part which explains the real issue and which runs thus:

After 3 or 4 days, unless there has been unusual degree of violence, no traces may be found. Where there has been much violence, the signs may of course persist longer.

Thus, if such a serious violence was caused to the prosecutrix by the appellants, the injuries are not likely to have disappeared before 2 or 3 days and the signs were bound to persist at least when she was examined by the Doctor. The absence of injuries on the person of the appellants as also on the person of the prosecutrix is yet another factor to negative the allegation of rape and to show that the appellants had sexual intercourse with the prosecutrix with her tacit consent.”

8. Another contention raised by the counsel for the appellant is that as per the case of the prosecution, the appellant used to blackmail and commit rape on the prosecutrix by extending threats of exposing her photograph and making it public, which was allegedly clicked at the time of commission of rape by the appellant Mukesh @ Bittoo in the month of January, 1994. This does not inspire confidence and truthfulness as the alleged photograph does not show the face of the prosecutrix and thus there was no apprehension of same being misused. Moreso, the prosecution in her deposition has given different versions about the first incident when she came to know about the alleged photograph for the first time. Further, the fact that the negative was available with the photograph the original is in doubt. It is alleged that in fact the negative was prepared from the photograph in question.

9. It is next argued by the counsel that the presence and identity of the girl and the appellant Bittoo in the alleged photograph is highly doubtful as the face of the girl in the alleged photograph is covered with her hands whereas the person in the alleged photograph has been observed as appellant Bittoo from his hairstyle by the learned Trial Court and the same is totally bad in law and outside the purview of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and the appellants could not have been convicted in the absence of proper identification.

10. The Counsel further argued that it is an admitted case of the prosecution that the prosecutrix had an affair with the appellant Parveen from 1989 to January, 1994. However, when the appellant Parveen refused to accept the marriage proposal of the prosecutrix as she was in relationship with other boys, the appellant Parveen was falsely implicated by the prosecutrix.

11. Lastly, counsel argued that the Investigating Officer has not been examined by the prosecution resulting deprival of opportunity to cross examine the Investigating Officer which caused serious prejudice to their defence. It is further argued that the prosecution has failed to bring any landlord/tenant or neighbour of the places of occurrence where prosecutrix was raped. Moreso, prosecutrix failed to identify and point out those places and no pointing out memo was prepared and placed on record.

12. In view of the aforesaid submissions, Mr. Vikas Pahwa, Senior Advocate prayed for an order of acquittal against the appellant Parveen Kumar.

13. Mr. Rajeev Gaur Naseem, Advocate appearing for the appellants Rohit Bansal and Mukesh Kumar @ Bittoo adopted the arguments advanced by Mr. Vikas Pahwa, Senior Advocate for the appellant Parveen Kumar.

14. Mr. M. L. Yadav, Advocate appearing for the respondents Balbir @ Balli and Anil Rawat also adopted the arguments advanced by Mr. Vikas Pahwa, Senior Advocate for the appellant Parveen Kumar.

15. Per contra, Mr. Feroz Khan Ghazi, Learned Counsel appearing for the State strongly refuted the submissions made by the counsel for the appellants and lent support to the judgment on conviction and order on sentence passed by the learned Trial Court. Counsel argued that theprosecution has proved their case beyond any shadow of doubt. The testimony of the sole witness so examined proves the guilt of the appellant and the findings so recorded by the learned Trial Court below do not warrant any interference. Thus, these appeals are liable to be dismissed.

16. We have heard the rival contentions of the parties and given our thoughtful consideration to the arguments advanced by them and have also perused the evidence as well as the exhibited documents carefully.

17. “Rape” or an attempt to rape is a crime not against an individual but a crime which destroys the basic equilibrium of the social atmosphere. “Rape” not only lowers the dignity of a woman but also mars her reputation. The plight of the woman and shock suffered by the victim can be well visualized. The victim of rape grows with traumatic experience and an unforgettable shame haunted by the memory of the disaster forcing her to a state of terrifying melancholia. The torment on the victim has the potentiality to corrode the poise and equanimity of any civilized society. It has been rightly said that whereas a murderer destroys the physical frame of a victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female. The offence of “Rape” is grave by its nature, which warrants a strong deterrent by judicial hand.

In Shyam Narian Vs. The State of NCT Delhi : (2013) 7 SCC 77, the Hon’ble Supeme Court has elaborately dealt the issue as discussed in Madan Gopal Kaakar Vs. Naval Dubey and Anr. : (1992) 3 SCC 204, State of Andhra Pradesh Vs. Bodem Sundra Rao : AIR 1996 SC 530 and State of Karnataka Vs. Krishnappa : (2000) 4 SCC 75 and has held that :

“It is an assault on the individuality and inherent dignity of a woman with the mindset that she should be elegantly servile to men. Rape is a monstrous burial of her dignity in the darkness. It is a crime against the holy body of a woman and the soul of the society and such a crime is aggravated by the manner in which it has been committed.”

and in Jugendra Singh Vs. State of UP : (2012) 6 SCC 297, Hon’ble Apex Court has held :

“Rape or an attempt to rape is a crime not against an individual but a crime which destroys the basic equilibrium of the social atmosphere. The consequential death is more horrendous. It is to be kept in mind that an offence against the body of a woman lowers her dignity and mars her reputation. It is said that one’s physical frame is his or her temple. No one has any right of encroachment. An attempt for the momentary pleasure of the accused has caused the death of a child and had a devastating effect on her family and, in the ultimate eventuate, on the collective at large. When a family suffers in such a manner, the society as a whole is compelled to suffer as it creates an incurable dent in the fabric of the social milieu. The cry of the collective has to be answered and respected and that is what exactly the High Court has done by converting the decision of acquittal to that of conviction and imposed the sentence as per law.”

In Lillu @ Rajesh & Ors. Vs. State of Haryana : (2013) 14 SCC 643, the Hon’ble Apex Court has observed that :

“11. In State of Punjab v. Ramdev Singh : AIR 2004 SC 1290, this Court dealt with the issue and held that rape is violative of victim’s fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. So, the courts should deal with such cases sternly and severely. Sexual violence, apart from being a dehumanizing act, is an unlawful intrusion on the right of privacy and sanctity of a woman. It is a serious blow to her supreme honour and offends her self-esteem and dignity as well. It degrades and humiliates the victim and where the victim is a helpless innocent child or a minor, it leaves behind a traumatic experience. A rapist not only causes physical injuries, but leaves behind a scar on the most cherished position of a woman, i.e. her dignity, honour, reputation and chastity. Rape is not only an offence against the person of a woman, rather a crime against the entire society. It is a crime against basic human rights and also violates the most cherished fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.”

18. It is a settled principle of law that conviction can be based on the sole testimony of the victim of sexual assault without corroboration from any other evidence. The statement of the prosecutrix is more reliable than any other witness. Where the testimony of victim of sexual assault instills the confidence in court, the same can be relied for conviction of the accused. It is also a well settled principle of law that corroboration as a condition for judicial reliance on the testimony of the prosecutrix is not a requirement of law but a guidance to prudence under the given circumstances.

In Vijay @ Chinee v. State of Madhya Pradesh : (2010) 8 SCC 191, the Hon’ble Apex Court has dealt with the issue and held that :

“Thus, the law that emerges on the issue is to the effect that the statement of the prosecutrix if found to be worthy of credence and reliable, requires no corroboration. The Court may convict the accused on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix.”

19. It is a settled legal proposition that once the statement of prosecutrix inspires confidence and is accepted by the court as such, conviction can be based on the solitary evidence of the prosecutrix and no corroboration would be required unless there are compelling reasons which necessitate the court for corroboration of her statement. Corroboration of testimony of the prosecutrix as a condition for judicial reliance is not a requirement of law but a guidance of prudence under the given facts and circumstances.

20. There are catena of judgments passed by the Hon’ble Apex Court wherein it has been held that only the deposition of the prosecution by itself is also sufficient to record conviction for the offence of rape if that testimony inspires confidence and has complete link of truth. In Md. Ali Vs. State of UP : 2015 (3) SCALE 274, the Hon’ble Apex Court has held that “Be it noted, there can be no iota of doubt that on the basis of the sole testimony of the prosecutrix, if it is unimpeachable and beyond reproach, a conviction can be based.” and in Mohd. Iqbal v. State of Jharkhandreported in (2013) 14 SCC 481, the Hon’ble Apex Court has held that “There is no prohibition in law to convict the accused of rape on the basis of sole testimony of the prosecutrix and the law does not require that her statement be corroborated by the statements of other witnesses.”

Testimony of Prosecutrix PW1 Billoo @ Preeti is not reliable

21. Coming to the facts of the present case, the moot point involved for consideration in these appeals is whether evidence adduced by the prosecution on rape, particularly testimony of prosecutrix PW1 Billoo @ Preeti is trustworthy, credible and worthy of reliance?

22. In order to test the veracity of the deposition of Prosecutrix PW1 Billoo @ Preeti, it needs to be discussed threadbare. She was examined on oath in Court during trial where she deposed that respondent Parveen was residing in her neighbourhood with whom she developed friendship and the same was objected by her father but they kept on meeting. She deposed that in the month of January 1994 respondent Parveen called her to Preet Vihar Bus Stop and asked her to go on a pleasure stroll and took her to Janpath at the house of respondent Bittoo. According to her, Bittoo offered her cold drink and after consuming it she felt giddiness and when she regained consciousness she saw that Parveen was raping her. Further she deposed that when she asked for her jeans from Parveen, he forced her to allow his friend Bittoo to repeat a similar act and when she refused the same, both Parveen and Bitto used force against her and Bittoo pressed her mouth and committed rape on her. She deposed that when Bittoo was raping her, she was weeping and had covered her face with her hands at that point of time she realised that Parveen had taken her photograph. She had a fight with Parveen, who promised to marry her and thereafter she returned home.

23. In her testimony, she further deposed the second incident of rape by stating that after few months of the previous incident, Parveen came to meet her and asked her to Nirman Vihar Bus Stand where Parveen apologized. She further stated that she demanded the negatives of the photograph from him and he took her to the house of his friend Sunil at Patparganj and made her to sit and left for some work. She again asked for negatives when Parveen returned on which Parveen sought her permission to have sex with her to which she refused but Parveen forcibly had sex with her and also gave beatings to her. She deposed that when she asked for her clothes from Parveen, he told her that the clothes would be returned to her, if respondent Anil was allowed to have sex with her. According to her, Anil, Bittoo, Sunil and Manish were brought by Parveen inside the room one by one and forced themselves upon her, gave her beatings and bit on her body and raped her one after the other without her consent. She deposed that lastly, Parveen threatened her that her brother would be killed in case she disclosed the same to anyone in connection with what has happened.

24. The prosecutrix PW1 while narrating the third instance deposed that on 17.07.1994, she received a phone call from Parveen who asked her to meet at the Nirman Vihar Bus Stop. She went there and Parveen again apologized to her and promised her to return her negative and photographs and took her on his motorcycle to an office which was under construction at Noida. She deposed that Bitoo, Sunil and Anil were already present there and Parveen threatened her as he was carrying a knife and a revolver. She futher stated that his friends who were standing there were laughing and all of them including Parveen forcibly had sex with her and threatened her with dire consequences, like killing of her brother and spoiling the future of her sister in case she disclosed the incident to anybody. She also deposed that she returned to her house and did not meet them for few months.

25. PW1 Billo @ Preeti disclosed that the last incident took place on 05.09.1994, she had gone to her college and as she had some free time she went to Bengali Restaurant to search for one of her friend. There, Parveen tried to talk to her but she did not respond and Parveen threatened her if she did listen to her, her photographs would be pasted outside her house and college. Parveen showed a knife to her and asked her to accompany him which she did and he took her to the house/office of his friend Ajay in Sita Ram Bazar. Ajay and one boy named Rohit with whom she was acquainted were also present there, she further deposed that she was taken to the second floor of office/house of Ajay and saw that two revolvers were lying on the table and glasses in which if water would be poured than obscene pictures would appear. According to her, Parveen, Ajay and Rohit raped her despite her resistance. She further deposed that she was beaten and Parveen had also threatened to tear her clothes if she would create scene and consequently she would not be in a position to return home. PW1 deposed that she again asked for her photographs and negatives from Parveen and he told her to return the same at 7:30 P.M. in the Gali near Universal Public School near my house, so she returned to her home.

26. On the same day at about 7:30 P.M., when she reached there, she found Parveen with his friend Balli and Parveen Kumar. There Balli forcibly had sex with her and when she asked for her negatives and photographs, they refused and she had a quarrel with Parveen and returned home. On that night, she wept bitterly and narrated each and everything to her mother on her insistence, who further brought the facts to the notice of the father of the prosecutrix and he lodged a report with the police on next day.

27. The prosecutrix was cross-examined at length. She admitted that she and Parveen were living in Preet Vihar since 1989 and the house of Parveen was at a distance of about 1/2 minutes walk from her house. She further deposed that she first met Parveen outside her house in 1989 and between 1989 and 1990. They used to meet frequently and mostly at the bus stop. She deposed that she used to meet Parveen after school hours in Park. She stated that their school timings of return from the school were almost the same. She stated that she never told anything to her parents regarding the above meetings. She further deposed that they used to like and love each other and she saw 2/3 movies with Parveen during 1989-90. She used to leave her house on the pretext of going to visit her friend Preeti, Sonia etc. as and when inquired by her mother. They used to see English movies between 11 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. and used to bunk their school. They enjoyed tea, coffee and snacks in picture hall. That sometimes they used to leave the picture hall and go outside for a stroll; that Parveen and his parents had shifted their house but she did not know if they had shifted to AGCR Complex, in Feb. 1990, in H. No. 278; that she used to write letters to Parveen in 1990 and 1991 and give them to Parveen when they used to meet me.

28. The prosecutrix had been confronted with her statements recorded under Section 161 and 164of the Code of Criminal Procedure on several issues /facts contrary to her deposition in court, wherein she admitted the following facts which have not been recorded in her statements underSection 161 and 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure.  I told the police that I and accused Parveen used to meet in park near my house and once my father had seen us and asked me not to meet him and rebuked me but still we kept on meeting (Confronted to Ex.PW1/A and Ex.PW1/DA not recorded.)  Accused Parveen had called me at the bus stop of Preet Vihar and asked me to go on some pleasure stroll. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded)  I did not tell the police that the accused Parveen took me to Janpath, Connaught Place while we were talking to each other. (Confronted to Portion A to A of Ex.PW1/A so recorded)  I told the police that I asked for my jeans but the same was not given to me and I was compelled to allow Bittoo to have intercourse with me; on my refusal both of them used force against me, the accused Bittoo pressed my mouth and made me lie forcibly on the ground. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded)  I do not remember if I had told the police about my second meeting with accused Parveen in May, 1994 in my FIR (Confronted to Ex.PW1/A wherein it is not so recorded).  I do not remember if I had stated that the second instance/ incident took place in April, 1994 in Ex.PW1/A vide portion C to C.

 I told the police that I was made to sit in the said room and Parveen told me to come after five minutes and I again demanded my negatives back from him and Parveen asked me to allow him to have sex once again and I refused for the same (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded).  I told the police that the accused Parveen forcibly had sex with me and gave beatings to me. Thereafter the accused Parveen brought accused Anil inside the room and I demanded back my clothes from Parveen but he kept the same in another room. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded)  I told the police that Parveen had told me that I would get my clothes only if I allow Anil to fuck me and when I refused, Anil used force on me and beat to me and bitten on my body and committed sex with me. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A wherein it is not so recorded)  I told the police that thereafter accused Parveen brought the accused Bittoo inside the room and he also committed sex with me without my consent. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded)  I told the police that thereafter accused Parveen brought accused Sunil inside the room and Sunil forced me and committed sex without my consent. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded)  I told the police that Parveen called me to bus stop Nirman Vihar over telephone on 17.07.94 and I went there. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded)  I told the Police that one boy named Manish also had forcible sex with me without my consent and I did not know his name and when his father and he came to my house I knew his name as Manish. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded)  I told the police that the Parveen again threatened me and sought to have intercourse with me and was having a knife in his one hand and revolver in other hand and all the other persons were standing and laughing there.

 I told the police and Metropolitan Magistrate that I was given much beatings. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A and Ex.PW1/DA where it is not so recorded).

 I told the police that they had threatened me to spoil my sisters (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded).  I told the police that on 05.09.1994 I had gone to my college and there was ample time for my class to be held and thus I went to Bengali Restaurant to look for my friend and where the accused Parveen tried to talk but I did not talk and further Parveen told me that if I did not talk to him he would made the posters of my photographs and would paste the same outside my house and college. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where the making of the posters and photographs and their affixation is not recorded on 5.9.94 but is recorded immediately before 5.9.94)  I told the police that thereafter I talked to Parveen and he at the point of knife told me to go with him and I accompanied him. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded)  I do not remember having told the police and the Metropolitan Magistrate that accused Rohit and Ajay were already present in the above office when I went there vide portion G to G of Ex.PW1/A (It is recorded in the above portion that two culprits were already present there).

 I told the Metropolitan Magistrate that two revolvers were lying there on a table. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/DA where it is not so recorded).

 I told the police and Metropolitan Magistrate that there were some glasses in which if the water would pour, the obscene photographs could appear in the glasses. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A and Ex.PW1/DA where it is not so recorded).  I told the police that the accused Parveen had forced me and on my refusal he with his one hand caught hold of my hand from behind and with his other hand had opened my salwar. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded)  I told the police that the Parveen again had sex with me forcibly.

(Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded)  I told the police and Metropolitan Magistrate that I was given much beatings. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A and Ex.PW1/DA where it is not so recorded).

 I told the police that Parveen had threatened to torn my clothes and I could not be in a position to go to my house and after doing the above act the above accused persons would have no connection with me. (Confronted with Ex.PW1/A where it is not so recorded)

29. Minor contradictions or insignificant discrepancies should not be a ground for throwing out an otherwise reliable prosecution case. A prosecutrix complaining of having been a victim of the offence of rape is not an accomplice after the crime. Her testimony has to be appreciated on the principle of probabilities just as the testimony of any other witness; a high degree of probability having been shown to exist in view of the subject matter being a criminal charge. However, if the court finds it difficult to accept the version of the prosecutrix on its face value, it may search for evidence, direct or substantial, which may lend assurance to her testimony.

30. On careful analysis of the testimony of the prosecutrix, we find a large number of contradictions, inconsistencies, concealment, improvements and exaggerations in her statement which as noted above, which casts shadow of doubt and led us to find it difficult to rely upon her version. However, let us see whether any other evidence has been adduced by the prosecution on record to support the version of the prosecutrix.

Medical Evidence

31. Having discussed the testimony of the prosecutrix in detail, it is significant to examine whether the medical evidence adduced by the prosecution finds support from the oral testimony of the prosecutrix. Dr. Rajeev Grover examined the prosecturix on 07.09.1994, proved his report Ex.PW6/A and opined that she was not under the effect of any drug nor there was any external injury on her body and referred the case to Gynecologist for detailed examination. Dr. Ashiko Sazerou, General Hospital, Gynecologist examined the prosecutrix and she opined on the MLC (Ex-PW-6/A) that there were no external injury mark seen anywhere on the body. During the cross examination, Dr. Ashiko Sazerou, revealed certain new facts which were not mentioned in the MLC and relevant parts thereof stated by Dr. Ashiko Sazerou in her cross examination are recapitulated as under:-

“that I cannot comment on the fact that the prosecutrix P.T @ Bittoo was used to sexual intercourse because two finger could be inserted in her vagina. The reason being that some people are very relaxed and you can admit two finger so easily but the possibility of Billo @ Preeti being used to sexual intercourse cannot be rule out. I cannot say if I found in my examination that Preeti @ Billo has abortion few months prior to the examination. She did not tell me that she had an abortion. I had not found any bitting marks on the breast of the patient, on my examination.”

32. Learned Counsel for the appellants contended that as per the prosecutrix last rape was committed on 05.09.1994 at 07:30 pm in a “Kachi Gali” for half an hour to which she resisted and also sustained injuries on her body. It is submitted that the medical evidence does not support the version of the prosecutrix and contradicts the commission of the crime.

33. On perusal of the testimonies of Dr. Rajeev Grover and Dr. Ashiko Sazerou, General Hospital, Gynecologist, it has emerged that there were no biting marks on the breast of the prosecutrix nor any external injury was found on the other parts of her body. Moreso, the prosecutrix concealed the fact from the doctor conducting the MLC that she was being successively raped. Prosecution has failed to adduce any material/evidence on record in support of her aforesaid claim. Furthermore, as per the MLC possibility of prosecutrix being habitual to sexual intercourse could not be ruled out.

34. Let us now examine another significant piece of evidence which is the CFSL Report Ex.PX tendered by PW13 SI Mehak Singh in evidence. During investigation, two slides smeared with some biological secretion marked Bio/A, one white colored kameez with black polka dots on it and embroidery done extensively around the neck and the sleeves end Bio/B1, white colour salwar with black polka dots Bio/B2, a sky blue coloured ladies underwear Bio/B3 and pale white coloured fluid Bio/C to Bio/I were sent for detection of semen and its grouping to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Chandigarh for detection of semen and its grouping. In the report Ex.PX, Dr. Sanjeev, Senior Scientific Officer opined that no semen could be detected on Bio/BI and Bio/B2. No spermatozoa were detected, microscopically on Bio/A and eventually it was opined that no definite matching could be found out of Bio/A and Bio/3 (clothes of the prosecutrix) with Bio/C to Bio/I (Semen of the Accused). It is more than clear from MLC Ex.PW6/A and CFSL Report Ex.PX that the story of the prosecution is false and fabricated. If we believe the story of the prosecution to be true and if she was raped in a Kachhi Gali to which she resisted there is no reason that she would not have received injury. Also from the report Ex.PX, it is clear that none of the appellants got connected with the alleged crime as their semen was not detected/matched.

35. In Lalliram and Anr. v. State of Madhya Pradesh : 2008 (10) SCC 69 with regard to an offence of gang rape falling Under Section 376 (2) (g) this Court laid down the principles as under in paras 11 and 12:

11. It is true that injury is not a sine qua non for deciding whether rape has been committed. But it has to be decided on the factual matrix of each case. As was observed by this Court in Pratap Misra v. State of Orissa where allegation is of rape by many persons and several times but no injury is noticed that certainly is an important factor and if the prosecutrix’s version is credible, then no corroboration is necessary. But if the prosecutrix’s version is not credible then there would be need for corroboration. (See Aman Kumar v. State of Haryana.)

12. As rightly contended by Learned Counsel for the Appellants, a decision has to be considered in the background of the factual scenario. In criminal cases the question of a precedent particularly relating to appreciation of evidence is really of no consequence. In Aman Kumar case it was observed that aprosecutrix complaining of having been a victim of the offence of rape is not an accomplice. There is no rule of law that her testimony cannot be acted upon without corroboration in material particulars. She stands on a higher pedestal than the injured witness. In the latter casethere is injury in the physical form while in the former both physical as well as psychological and emotional. However, if the court finds it difficult to accept the version of a prosecutrix on the face value, it may search for evidence direct or circumstantial. (Emphasis added)

36. In view of the above, the reports of doctors, who have conducted medical examination of the prosecutrix as well as the CFSL report do not co-relate the version alleged and thus the prosecution has failed to discharge its onus to prove the rape on the prosecutrix.

Authenticity of Photograph and negative

37. Mr. Pahwa, Senior Advocate argued that the photograph Ex-1/B and negative have been planted by the prosecution and the entire story of the prosecution that she was blackmailed as she was under a threat that the photograph and negative would be made public which have been clicked by Parveen when Bittoo was raping her in the month of January,1994 and that she gained further time to procure the photograph and negative is a false story.

38. In photograph Ex-PW1/B the girl has covered her face with her hands and when seen with a naked eye the girl who has covered her face cannot be identified. There appears to be no apprehension of photograph being misused as the face of the girl is not visible in Ex-PW1/B. Moreso, the recovery memo Ex-PW-10/A has not been signed by Appellant Parveen on 09.09.1994. The recovery of the photograph and the negative is doubtful. As per record the recovery of the photograph and the negative were made from Appellant Parveen on 09.09.1994 when he was arrested vide Ex-PW-10/A but does not bear his signature. The copy of the said recovery memo was given to appellant Parveen Kumar vide Ex-PW1/DA dated 07.09.1994 under the signatures of SI Ashok Rana. PW-3 ASI V.S. Nagar deposed that the photograph was recovered on 07.09.1994 and PW-13 Ashok Rana also confirmed that Parveen Kumar was arrested on 07.09.1994 at the same time there is a cutting under the signatures of Investigating Officer Prithvi Singh on Ex. PW-13/G which is recovery memo of negative dated 13.09.1994 and the signatures of Parveen Kumar appears to have been taken on a blank paper as they do not appear to be at the right place. The negative Ex. PW-1/D appears to be planted and the possibility of padding by changing the date in the recovery memo cannot be ruled out. It is also significant to note that the prosecutrix has given inconsistent versions as to when the alleged photograph was shown to her first time. The observations of the learned Trial Court “132. It is correct that I have found that there is a square border around the negative but it cannot be said with certainty that square border comes around the negatives only when the negative is made from the photograph. No photographer or expert has been produced by the defence side to elaborate this fact, so it cannot be said that the said negative was prepared from the photograph and the possibility cannot be ruled out that the film of the camera may be such which may give a square order on all the negative.

are unfounded. The learned trial Court has erroneously appreciated the evidence while observing that :

“133. I have seen accused Bittoo while appearing several times in the court. From his curly hairs, size of head and the structure, he can clearly be recognized in the photograph despite the fact that only his back is shown in the photograph. In daily routine, we can invariably recognize the persons (whom we know very well) by seeing their back or sometimes even by having a glimpse of the person.” Learned Senior Counsel has emphasized that the negatives have been prepared from the photograph in question and planted on the appellant.

39. As the learned Trial Court could not be a witness for identification of appellant Bittoo. Having said so, we are of the view that the photograph, identity of persons photographed and the genuineness of the negative have not been proved.

Delay in registration of FIR

40. It is urged on behalf of the appellants and the other respective counsel that the FIR in the present case has been lodged at a very belated stage i.e. on 07.09.1994, after about 9 months of the alleged incident which took place in January 1994. The delay has to be considered in the background of the facts and circumstances of each case and is a matter of appreciation of evidence. It is well settled that the delay in registering the FIR cannot be a ground to doubt the case of the prosecution. In cases of delay, the Courts are required to examine the evidence with a close scrutiny and in doing so; the contents of the FIR should also be scrutinized more carefully. If Court finds that there is no indication of fabrication or it has not been concocted or engineered to implicate innocent persons then, even if there is a delay in lodging the FIR, the case of the prosecution cannot be dismissed merely on that ground. The disinclination to inform the family or report the matter to the police might be due to apprehension and attitude of the society towards the victim. Therefore, the delay in lodging the complaint in such cases does not necessarily indicate that her version is false.

41. In the present case, a series of rape committed on the prosecutrix which had started from January, 1994 and ended on 05.09.1994. In fact the prosecutrix was known to the appellant Parveen since 1989 and was having friendly relation with him and they used to meet on their way to school and also in the park. The prosecutrix as per her own Statment kept on meeting the appellant Parveen despite the opposition of her father. The prosecutrix alleged that during their friendship Parveen first raped her in January 1994 when she was served a cold drink, after consuming it she became unconscious and thereafter Parveen allowed his friend Bittoo to rape her and she was also photographed by Parveen on the basis of which he kept on blackmailing her. Finally, she disclosed this unfortunate story to her mother who further informed the same to complainant who got the FIR registered on 07.09.1994. The inordinate delay in registering the FIR casts a cloud of suspicion regarding credibility of the prosecution story when read with the testimony of prosecutrix, medical evidence and all other evidence led by the prosecution. The inordinate delay in registration of FIR and the time and opportunities which the prosecutrix had, to report the matter to the police or any other person by raising an alarm when she was forced to undergo the trauma of rape is unexplainable.

Non-examination of IO and malafide investigation

42. Mr. Pahwa, Learned Senior Counsel for the appellant Parveen and other counsel for other appellants have vehemently argued that the Investigating Officer Prithvi Singh has not stepped in the witness-box nor put to the test of cross examination and the prosecution has withheld the testimony of the most vital witness which has caused great prejudice to the appellants and his non examination is fatal to the case of prosecution. It is well settled law that the appellants can be convicted on the basis of sole testimony of the prosecutrix, if found to be worthy of credence and reliable and for that no corroboration is required. The prosecution explained that the Investigating Officer had not been examined as he has sustained injuries in his backbone and there was no likelihood of his recovery in the near future and the material documents pertaining to this case were tendered by PW-13 SI Mahak Singh of Crime Branch. Even otherwise, Investigating Officer is not a material witness for the purpose of establishing whether the appellants committed the offence for which they have been charged. Hence, non-examination of the Investigating Officer in the present case is inconsequential.

Malafide investigation

43. It has been strongly urged that the investigation in the present case is not fair but tainted as the same was under the direction of an very influential person who was a neighbour of the Grandfather of prosecutrix. From the material available on record, it is clear that the prosecutrix as well as Appellant Parveen were residents of same vicinity and the FIR was registered at Police Station, Preet Vihar. PW-3, ASI V.S. Nagar has testified that on 07.09.1994, Inspector Prithvi Singh gave him a „Tehrir‟ which was taken by him to the police station, Preet Vihar and thereafter FIR was registered in police station, Preet Vihar on the same day. PW7 HC Rakesh Kumar deposed in his statement that from 07.09.1994 he was a part of investigation team in the instant case. Though, there is nothing on record to suggest that the investigation was primarily conducted by Delhi Police and thereafter transferred to Crime Branch the same is evident from the testimonies of PW3 and PW7 that the FIR was registered in police station, Preet Vihar but from the inception i.e. from 07.09.1994, the case was formally in the hands of InvestigatingOfficer Prithvi Singh, who was posted in Crime Branch, Adarsh Nagar. This fact has also been recorded by learned Trial Court that on 07.09.1994, DCP, Crime Branch called the ACP along with Inspector Prithvi Singh, Inspector Raj Mohinder Singh of the Crime Branch in his office and instructed them to act on the complaint made by father of the prosecutrix without delay. Keeping in view the above material, we are of the opinion that the contention of learned counsel for the appellants with regard to influenced investigation cannot be ruled out.

False implication

44. The main thrust of argument as raised by Mr. Pahwa, learned Senior Counsel for appellant Parveen along with counsel for other appellants is that it is a false case in which Parveen and his friends were falsely implicated by the prosecutrix as the relationship between her and Parveen had turned sour when he came to know that prosecutrix was of easy virtue and was friendly with many other boys and refused to marry her bringing to an end the five years long relationship. It is further contended that thereafter, with the help of an influential person a false FIR was got registered and an objectionable photograph and negative, alleged to be that of prosecutrix with one of the appellant namely Bittoo, wherein the faces are not visible was planted by the Investigating Agency to implicate the appellants. It is argued that the testimony of the prosecutrix is not creditworthy and she cannot be called as a sterling witness whose version can be accepted by the court without any corroboration. The version of the said witness on the core spectrum of the crime should remain intact while all other attendant materials, namely, oral, documentary and material objects should match the said version in material particulars in order to enable the Court trying the offence to rely on the core version to sieve the other supporting materials for holding the offender guilty of the charge alleged. In Rai Sandeep @ Deepu Vs State of NCT of Delhi : (2012) 8 SCC 21, the Hon’ble Apex Court has held that .

“To test the quality of such a witness, the status of the witness would be immaterial and what would be relevant is the truthfulness of the statement made by such a witness. What would be more relevant would be the consistency of the statement right from the starting point till the end, namely, at the time when the witness makes the initial statement and ultimately before the Court. It should be natural and consistent with the case of the prosecution qua the accused. There should not be any prevarication in the version of such a witness. The witness should be in a position to withstand the cross-examination of any length and strenuous it may be and under no circumstance should give room for any doubt as to the factum of the occurrence, the persons involved, as well as, the sequence of it. Such a version should have co-relation with each and everyone of other supporting material such as the recoveries made, the weapons used, the manner of offence committed, the scientific evidence and the expert opinion. The said version should consistently match with the version of every other witness. It can even be stated that it should be akin to the test applied in the case of circumstantial evidence where there should not be any missing link in the chain of circumstances to hold the accused guilty of the offence alleged against him. Only if the version of such a witness qualifies the above test as well as all other similar such tests to be applied, it can be held that such a witness can be called as a ‘sterling witness’ whose version can be accepted by the Court without any corroboration and based on which the guilty can be punished. To be more precise, the version of the said witness on the core spectrum of the crime should remain intact while all other attendant materials, namely, oral, documentary and material objects should match the said version in material particulars in order to enable the Court trying the offence to rely on the core version to sieve the other supporting materials for holding the offender guilty of the charge alleged.”

45. In Narender Kumar Vs. State (NCT of Delhi) : 2012 (7) SCC 171, it has been observed :

16. It is a settled legal proposition that once the statement of prosecutrix inspires confidence and is accepted by the Court as such, conviction can be based only on the solitary evidence of the prosecutrix and no corroboration would be required unless there are compelling reasons which necessitate the court for corroboration of her statement. Corroboration of testimony of the prosecutrix is a condition for judicial reliance is not a requirement of law but a guidance of prudence under the given facts and circumstances. Minor contradictions or insignificant discrepancies should not be a ground for throwing out an otherwise reliable prosecution case. A prosecutrix complaining of having been a victim of the offence of rape is not an accomplice after the crime. Her testimony has to be appreciated on the principle of probabilities just as the testimony of any other witness; a high degree of probability having been shown to exist in view of the subject matter being a criminal charge. However, if the court finds it difficult to accept the version of the prosecutrix on its face value, it may search for evidence, direct or substantial, which may lend assurance to her testimony. (Vide:Vimal Suresh Kamble v. Chaluverapinake Apal S.P. and Anr.: AIR 2003 SC 818; andVishnu v. State of Maharashtra : AIR 2006 SC 508).

17. Where evidence of the prosecutrix is found suffering from serious infirmities and inconsistencies with other material, prosecutrix making deliberate improvements on material point with a view to rule out consent on her part and there being no injury on her person even though her version may be otherwise, no reliance can be placed upon her evidence.”

46. The creditworthiness of the testimony of the prosecutrix has already been discussed in the earlier part of the judgment. The prosecutrix when put to the test as laid down in Rai Sandeep @ Deepu (Supra) fails the test of being sterling witness of a high quality and caliber whose version should therefore be unassailable and such quality should be in a position to accept it on face value without any hesitation. The prosecutrix when examined in court failed to disclose her relationship with Parveen but only when during cross examination confronted with her love letter admitted that she had been writing letters to Parveen and finally also written to him that she would leave him bitten. Moreso, her statement neither stood corroborated from medical evidence nor any other material on record and the photograph Ex.PW1/DX is not free from doubt. DW1 Gagan Mehtora also testified that the prosecutrix and Parveen were known to each other for long.

47. There is no doubt that rape causes great distress and humiliation to the victim of rape but at the same time false allegation of committing a rape also causes humiliation and damage to the accused. An accused has also rights which are to be protected and the possibility of false implication has to be ruled out. The Supreme Court in Radhu vs. State of Madhya Pradeshreported in 2007 Cri. LJ 4704 had in this context noted as follows:

“The courts should, at the same time, bear in mind that false charges of rape are not uncommon. There have also been rare instances where a person has persuaded a gullible or obedient daughter to make a false charge of a rape either to take revenge or extort money or to get rid of financial liability. Whether there was rape or not would depend ultimately on the facts and circumstances of each case.”

and in Abbas Ahmed Choudhary Vs. State of Assam : (2010) 12 SCC 115, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that:

“We are conscious of the fact that in a matter of rape, the statement of the prosecutrix must be given primary consideration, but, at the same time, the broad principle that the prosecution has to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt applies equally to a case of rape and there can be no presumption that a prosecutrix would always tell the entire story truthfully.”

48. In Raju v. State of Madhya Pradesh (2008) 15 SCC 133, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that testimony of the victim of a rape cannot be presumed to be a gospel truth and observed that false allegations of rape can cause equal distress, humiliation and damage to the accused as well, in para 11, the supreme Court echoed the sentiments as under:-

“11. It cannot be lost sight of that rape causes the greatest distress and humiliation to the victim but at the same time a false allegation of rape can cause equal distress, humiliation and damage to the accused as well. The accused must also be protected against the possibility of false implication, particularly where a large number of accused are involved. It must, further, be borne in mind that the broad principle is that an injured witness was present at the time when the incident happened and that ordinarily such a witness would not tell a lie as to the actual assailants, but there is no presumption or any basis for assuming that the statement of such a witness is always correct or without any embellishment or exaggeration.”

49. Keeping in mind the above cited judgments, the testimony of prosecutrix has to be consistent and natural in line with the case of the prosecution and free from infirmities which inspire confidence in the Court. It cannot be presumed that the statement of the prosecutrix is always true or without any embellishment.

50. In the instant case, the testimony of the prosecutrix is not natural and consistent with the case of the prosecution. Her version has no correlation with other supporting material being medical, scientific and expert evidence. After rescanning the entire case in its right perspective, we are of the firm view if the evidence of the prosecutrix is read and considered in totality of the circumstances alongwith the other evidence on record, in which the offence is alleged to have been committed, we are of the view that her deposition does not inspire confidence. The version of the prosecutrix has not been corroborated with medical evidence and has not disclosed the true genesis of the crime.

51. In view of the above discussion, there is no scope to sustain conviction and sentence imposed on the appellants, resultantly, these appeals succeed and are hereby allowed. The judgment dated 03.12.1999 and order on sentence dated 08.12.1999 passed by the learned Trial Court convicting and sentencing the appellants for the offences punishable under Sections 376(2)(g)/ 342/506 (II) read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, are set aside and the appellants, accordingly, acquitted of the charges framed against them. Their bail bonds shall stand discharged.

SANGITA DHINGRA SEHGAL, J.

G. S. SISTANI, J.