Haryana: Supreme Court Acquits Two Rape Accused After They Spent Years In Jail
Two Haryana men, who were convicted of raping a minor girl, were acquitted by the Supreme Court on August 21, after already having served years of their sentences, reported The Times of India. Incidentally, one of the accused, Jai Singh, had served 10 years of his sentence and the second accused Sham Singh, had been behind bars for 7 years already.
They were convicted by the Faridabad Trial Court in June 2011 which was upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. On Tuesday, a bench of Justices N V Ramana and Mohan M Shantanagoudar acquitted the two citing that the medical report did not substantiate rape. Sham Singh was ordered to be released immediately after the judgement.
The alleged incident
Brothers Sham Singh and Jai Singh were accused by their niece of allegedly raping her on the night of August 22, 2001, in the presence of other family members. She was 15 years old then. “The accused forcibly took the victim into their house and tied her hands on a cot with rope and committed rape on her,” mentions the judgement written for the bench by Justice Shantanagoudar. It also alleges that the accused duo forced the victim to consume some liquid which made her unconscious until she was discovered the next morning by the local milkman. Additionally, it was also reported by the girl that the mother of the duo had threatened to wipe out her family if she spoke about this incident.
During the concurrent trials, one of the accused admitted in court that he had slapped the girl for mingling with a boy from the village and exchanging “love letters”. He also revealed that he had submitted a written apology (Mafinama) for the slapping when a village panchayat meeting was convened over the incident. However, the victim had maintained her stance before the trial court that the panchayat was called to hush up the case, according to the written judgement.
The two accused were acquitted in 2003 after a case was registered. Dissatisfied by the acquittal, the girl had moved the High Court which resumed fresh trials and convicted them.
The medical examination report
The medical examination of the victim revealed no evidence of rape or any forceful sexual advance on her. The examining doctor said that she had sustained injuries on her forehead though no trace of semen was found on her body or clothes. The judgement reads, “Finally, however, the doctor has opined that the possibility of sexual assault upon the victim cannot be ruled out, though she did not specify as to whether the sexual assault was in the recent past.”
The SC judgement bench termed the prosecution as artificial and concocted. “It may not be probable to commit rape in one’s own house in front of the sister, children, wife and mother. If in actuality the incident had taken place, the medical report would have gone against the accused,” quoted the judgement.
The bench has put aside the concurrent judgement stating, “The findings of the courts below do not deserve the merit of acceptance or approval in our hands with regard to glaring infirmities and legal issues violating them, and the patent errors apparent on the face of record resulting in serious and grave miscarriage of justice to the appellant,” reported The Times of India.
However, the report has refrained from confronting the fact that two individuals have lost the prime years of their lives in serving a false sentence.