In August 2018, the supreme court acquitted two men in a 2001 rape case that allegedly took place in Faridabad, NCR. However, one of the two had already served 10-years and another one had served seven years in jail by then.
The duo had been convicted by Faridabad trial court as well as the Punjab and Haryana high court and almost after a decade of imprisonment, one of the accused appealed to the Supreme Court against these parallel judgments. The offence of rape was not proven, said the bench of Justices N V Ramana and Mohan M Shantanagoudar while acquitting both of them.
The court recorded,
The first accused Jai Singh has already served the sentence imposed on him, and appellant Sham Singh has already served a sentence of seven years out of the total of 10 years imposed on him.
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The bench later ordered immediate release of Sham Singh, however, it did not address that the two accused had spent their prime years in jail because of the false rape charges.
The incident happened on August 22, 2001. Back then, a minor girl alleged that her two uncles, who were brothers, picked her up at night. They later took her to their home, tied her hands to a cot and raped her in front of their mother, sister, wife, and children.
The medical report did not reveal rape, as there were no injury mark on her wrists or any part of her body, neither there were any traces of semen found. The accused told the court that one of them had slapped the minor girl because they were not happy with her hanging out with a boy in the village and writing ‘love letters’ to him. The men later also told court that there was a village panchayat wherein, he had apologized in writing for slapping the girl. However, the girl insisted in the trial court that the panchayat was called to suppress the rape case.
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The Faridabad fast-track court had acquitted the accused in March 2003. After which the girl appealed to the High court, wherein she demanded a fresh trial. This is when the trial court convicted the accused in June 2011 and subsequently the high court upheld the trial court order. Justice Shantanagoudar in his final order quoted,
It is amply clear that the case of the prosecution, as made out, appears to be artificial and concocted. It may not be probable to commit rape in one’s own house in front of the sister, children, and mother. If in actuality the incident had taken place, the medical evidence would have gone against the accused.
Adding further the bench said,
The evidence of the victim/prosecutrix and her aunt are unreliable, untrustworthy in as much as they are not credible witnesses. Their evidence bristles with contradictions and is full of improbabilities. We cannot resist ourselves to place on record that the prosecution has tried to rope in the appellant merely on assumptions, surmises and conjectures.
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Hence, keeping behind the coeval judgment, the bench said,
The findings of the courts below do not deserve the merit of acceptance or approval in our hands with regard to glaring infirmities and illegalities vitiating them, and the patent errors apparent on the face of record resulting in serious and grave miscarriage of justice to the appellant.
- Every court is prone to errors, however, the time taken for any case to reach Supreme Court is undoubtedly inhuman in India
- This also raises questions on the process for under trials who spend years languishing in jail, only to be acquitted at a later stage
- Our courts are filled with frivolous ego battles, thanks to age old archaic laws, which are redundant and have no meaning in the year 2020
- Modi government which came to power in 2014 and that has been at the centre for more than six years now, has failed in bringing any judicial reforms whatsoever, especially when it comes to the time taken for any verdict
- Due to such a futile legal system, criminals today have no fear while committing a crime, while the innocent one’s who get trapped barely see the light of justice
- Lastly, there is no conviction for the false accuser girl and all that the innocent men got is a mere acquittal