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Phool Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh

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Penal Code, 1860 – Section 376 – Credibility and/or trustworthiness of the prosecutrix. She is found to be reliable and trustworthy. Therefore, without any further corroboration, the conviction of the accused relying upon the sole testimony of the prosecutrix can be sustained.

Penal Code, 1860 – Section 376 – Submission that there were no external or internal injuries found on the body of the prosecutrix and therefore it may be a case of consent – Held, No such question was asked, even remotely, to the prosecutrix in her cross-examination. Therefore, the aforesaid submission is to be rejected outright.

Penal Code, 1860 – Section 376 – Plea of alibi.

Now so far as the submission on behalf of the accused that the learned trial Court erred in not believing DW1 and erred in not believing the defence and the plea of alibi that on the night of the incident he had gone to Indore and was not present in the village is concerned, at the outset, it is required to be noted that cogent reasons have been given by 15 the learned trial Court not to believe DW1 and not to believe the plea of alibi raised by the accused. DW1 belongs to the same village of the accused. The reason to go to Indore has been disbelieved by the court. It was the case on behalf of the accused and the defence that as one Babulal had met with an accident, DW1 and the accused had gone to Indore taking Babulal and they had stayed at Indore on that night. However, it was found that Babulal had an injury before two months. Defence had not produced the record of the hospital or examined doctor or employee of the hospital where the said Babulal was taken for treatment. According to the defence, they had stayed in the house of Tulsiram at Indore but the said Tulsiram has not been examined. Even the Babulal has also not been examined. Under the circumstances, the learned trial Court has rightly disbelieved the plea of alibi raised by the accused and has rightly disbelieved DW1. On appreciation of evidence, the learned trial Court has specifically observed that the deposition of DW1 does not inspire any confidence. [Para 8]

Penal Code, 1860 – Section 376 – Delay It is very unfortunate that in this case the sister-in-law and mother-in-law though being women did not support the prosecutrix. On the contrary, she was compelled to go to her parental house and thereafter the FIR was lodged. Being women at least the sister-in-law and mother-in-law ought to have supported the prosecutrix, rather than beating her and not believing the prosecutrix. Therefore, when in such a situation, the delay has taken place in lodging the FIR, the benefit of such delay cannot be given to the accused who as such was the relative.

Now so far as the submission on behalf of the accused that there was a delay of three days in lodging the FIR is concerned, at the outset, it is required to be noted that it was the specific and consistent case on behalf of the prosecutrix that immediately on the occurrence of the incident, she narrated the incident to her sister-in-law (Jethani) and mother-in-law but they did not believe the prosecutrix. On the contrary, they beat her. Even no other family members in her matrimonial home supported the prosecutrix and therefore she sent message to her parental house and thereafter she was taken to her parental house and FIR was lodged. [Para 9]

Penal Code, 1860 – Section 376 – Reduction of Sentence.

Now so far as the prayer on behalf of the accused to reduce the sentence considering the proviso to Section 376 IPC is concerned, as per section 376 IPC pre-amendment, the minimum punishment shall be seven years. However, as per the proviso, the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years. No exceptional and/or special reasons are made out to impose the sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years. On the contrary and in the facts and circumstances of the case, it can be said that accused has been dealt with lightly by imposing the minimum sentence of seven years rigorous imprisonment only. The victim was the relative. Nobody in the family at matrimonial home supported her and she suffered the trauma. She was compelled to go to her parental house and thereafter she was able to lodge the FIR. The accused has come out with a false case/plea of alibi, which is not accepted by the courts below. Under the circumstances, the prayer of the appellant to reduce the sentence and/or to convert the sentence from seven years rigorous imprisonment to seven years simple imprisonment is not accepted and it is rejected. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, the present appeal fails and the same deserves to be dismissed and is accordingly dismissed. The conviction and sentence awarded to the accused – appellant herein for the offence under Section 376 IPC is hereby confirmed. [Paras 10 & 11]

Case Law Reference

  1. Ganesan v. State, (2020) 10 SCC 573
  2. Santosh Prasad v. State of Bihar, (2020) 3 SCC 443
  3. State of H.P. v. Manga Singh, (2019) 16 SCC 759
  4. State (NCT of Delhi) v. Pankaj Chaudhary, (2019) 11 SCC 575
  5. Sham Singh v. State of Haryana, (2018) 18 SCC 34
  6. Rai Sandeep v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2012) 8 SCC 21
  7. Krishan Kumar Malik v. State of Haryana, (2011) 7 SCC 130
  8. Vijay v. State of M.P., (2010) 8 SCC 191
  9. Wahid Khan v. State of M.P., (2010) 2 SCC 9
  10. Vishnu v. State of Maharashtra, (2006) 1 SCC 283
  11. State of U.P. v. Pappu, (2005) 3 SCC 594
  12. State of Orissa v. Thakara Besra, (2002) 9 SCC 86
  13. State of Rajasthan v. N.K., (2000) 5 SCC 30
  14. Ranjit Hazarika v. State of Assam, (1998) 8 SCC 635
  15. State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh, (1996) 2 SCC 384
  16. State of H.P. v. Raghubir Singh, (1993) 2 SCC 622
  17. State of Maharashtra v. Chandraprakash Kewalchand Jain, (1990) 1 SCC 550
  18. Rameshwar v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1952 SC 54