New Delhi: A Delhi Court has concluded that a three-year-old girl was raped but acquitted the accused by refusing to accept her testimony and evidence that the man she identified as the perpetrator of the crime was the offender.
Despite holding that "the infant girl had been brutally raped" in October 2012, the court said "the element of tutoring (her) cannot be ruled out completely."
Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat said reasons giving rise to doubt that the victim may have been tutored by family members arise from the fact that she was unable to give any details about the identity of the accused or the incident one month and 20 days after the crime before the magistrate.
However, the judge said six months later the toddler gave all the description about the incident and also identified the accused before him.
"The record of proceedings of the magistrate shows that the mother of the prosecutrix had accompanied her to the chamber of the magistrate and the magistrate had tried to make her comfortable but even then the prosecutrix could not say anything about the incident of rape or the identity of the assailant.
"This had happened just after about one month and 20 days of the incident and during all this period, she was with her parents and hence no occasion for her to be under any fear. Even otherwise, there is nothing on record that the assailant has scolded or threatened or beaten her either before the incident or after it.
"This gives rise to a doubt that she may have been tutored how to depose in the court. How could she describe the incident in court and identify the accused when she could not say anything before the magistrate?" the court said.
It also pulled up the magistrate and police for procedural lapses leading to "shaky" and "doubtful" evidence and said "there is no convincing or credit worthy evidence on record to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had done it".
The sessions judge said "thus I don`t find any clinching, credible and trustworthy evidence on record to hold the accused guilty. The prosecution has failed to prove the guilt of the accused. The evidence produced by the prosecution is shaky, doubtful and not inspiring confidence.
"Evidence on record does show that the infant girl had been brutally raped but there is no convincing or credit worthy evidence on record to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had done it."
According to the prosecution, the incident took place on October 6, 2012, when accused Surjeet Kumar had lured the child near her house and took her to a secluded place and allegedly raped her.
The child was rescued when someone saw her crying near a booster pump and informed her parents and was taken to Safdarjung hospital for medical aid.
A case of rape was registered at Naraina police station.
Kumar, who was arrested in a kidnapping case 15 days after the rape incident, himself disclosed to the police officials that he had earlier raped a minor girl, police said.
However, during the trial, he denied his involvement in the rape case and claimed he was falsely implicated.