National Human Rights Commission took cognizance of the distressful incident of Uttar Pradesh where Allahabad High Court acquitted a man in a false rape case who spent two decades in the prison. NHRC has issued notice to the General Secretary and Director General of Police of Uttar Pradesh seeking a detailed report on the case.
NHRC noted that it appears to be a case of non-application of Section 433 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The human rights body has also sought details about the initiation of action against the government officials responsible for the injustice done to wrongfully imprisoned Vishnu Tiwari. The report should also include measures taken for the relief and rehabilitation of the victim to compensate for the trauma, social stigma, and mental pain he had endured during the years of his unjust imprisonment.
Everyone questioned the legal system when news broke out in public that a man has been acquitted of a false rape case by Allahabad High Court. The factor which led to the public outrage is that he spent THE 20 YEARS OF HIS LIFE in prison for a crime he never committed.
NHRC mentioned in the notice that during Tiwari’s wrongful confinement, he lost the whole family except one brother. The whole family was ostracized. He was not granted bail even once to attend the last rites of his family members. Even after his exceptionally good conduct in prison, his appeal for the furlough to attend the cremation of his father was rejected.
Allahabad High Court acquitted the Brahmin man, Vishnu Tiwari in a false rape case filed by a woman from his village. He was arrested in 2000 under the allegations of rape and was also booked under SC/ST Act. He was 23 years old at the time of arrest and has been released at the age of 43.
Following three years of trial, a Lalitpur Court convicted him and sentenced him to 10 years rigorous imprisonment. He was awarded life imprisonment for the conviction under SC/ST Act.
Tiwari came out of the Agra Central jail on Wednesday with his release order in his hand. This was so heartbreaking that there was no one to receive him outside the jail. “I have been in jail for 20 years… what should I look forward to? My body is broken and so is my family. I only have a younger brother. I am not married. Look at my hands… there are blisters from working in the jail kitchen. Today, before leaving, I got ₹ 600 from the jail administration. That is all I have,” said Tiwari. He also submitted that his lawyer was ditched by his lawyer as well.
In the verdict acquitting Tiwari, the court noted, “The medical evidence should show some semblance of forcible intercourse, even if we go as per the version of the prosecutrix – that the accused had gagged her mouth for ten minutes and had thrashed her on ground. There would have been some injuries to a fully-grown lady.”
The bench further stated, “In our finding, the medical evidence goes to show that the doctor did not find any sperm. The doctor categorically opined that no signs of forcible sexual intercourse were found. This was also based on the finding that there were no internal injuries on the lady.”
“Factual data also goes to show that there are several contradictions in the examination-in-chief, as well as cross-examination of all three witnesses. In view of the facts and evidence on record, we are convinced that the accused has been wrongly convicted. Hence the judgment and order impugned is reversed and the accused is acquitted,” said the judgment.
Tiwari had filed his appeal through the Agra Jail Superintendent. NHRC and the court expressed displeasure over the government’s failure to recommend his case for the remission of the sentence or to commute his sentence under sections 432-434 of the CrPC.
“We are pained to mention that even after 14 years of incarceration, the State did not think of exercising its power for commutation of the sentence of life imprisonment of the present accused. His case should have been considered but has not been considered,” said the High Court bench.
“Most unfortunate, aspect of this litigation is that the appeal was preferred through the jail. The matter remained as a defective matter for a period of 16 years and, therefore, we normally do not mention the defective appeal number, but we have mentioned the same. This defective conviction appeal was taken up as listing application was filed by the learned counsel appointed by Legal Services Authority on 6.12.2012 with a special mention that accused is in jail for 20 years,” said the bench comprising Justice Dr Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Justice Gautam Chowdhary.
Coming across such cases where rights are misused, makes us think that whether these rights should be there or not. Some reforms in the law are must as 20 years is not a small time. It engulfed almost all his adulthood and has cost him a lot including family, reputation, a happy common life, and especially the time. So, the Justice Must Prevail.