After 23 years of the alleged incident, the Delhi High Court had set aside the trial court judgment and convicted two men for raping a minor girl. The court further confirmed that the medical evidence corroborated the clear and unequivocal testimony of the minor victim, who had also identified the two men as the offenders before the trial court.
The High Court bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and IS Mehta held that the acquittal by the trial court suffered from the vice of perversity, resulting in a grave miscarriage of justice. The court also asserted that the trial court has further failed to consider there was neither any dispute with regards to the identity of the accused men nor was it brought to the notice of the higher authorities of the police or the lower court, at the relevant stage.
As per sources, the 13-year-old girl, in her testimony before the trial court, had given a vivid and indubitable recount of what she was subjected to by the two accused, Surender Kumar and Ravinder, at the time of the incident in March 1997.
“Having regard to the totality of the circumstances, appearing on the record of the case, we are constrained to observe that the trial court ignored the cardinal tenets of appreciation of evidence, including the weight to be attached to the testimony of the minor victim, since the accused had evidently been identified immediately and arrested contemporaneously,” noted the court.
The incident took place on 27 March 1997, when the victim and her younger brother went out to ease themselves. Ravinder caught hold of the minor boy while Surender forcibly took the girl to a nearby vacant spot, gagged her mouth and raped her. He further threatened her with dire consequences if she narrated her ordeal to anyone and fled the spot.
The prosecution narrated the girl’s father informed the police and an FIR for the offenses of kidnapping, raping, and criminal intimidation was registered under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Alipur police station.
However, the two men claimed that they were falsely implicated in the case by the complainant with an intent to extract money.
Setting aside the trial court’s judgment the HC stated that “The impugned judgment of the trial court is a total negation in the quest for the search of truth and overlooks the cardinal principle that the duty of a judge presiding over a criminal trial is not merely to see that no innocent person is punished but also to see that the guilty person does not escape and that both the public duties are equally important.”
The court will pass the order on the quantum of the sentence next week.