New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has upheld a three-year jail term awarded to two men by a trial court for abducting a woman to compel her for marriage and illegally confining her in a car for several hours, while acquitting one of them of rape charge.
The court said that victim`s evidence showed "several lacunae" and failed to prove the rape allegation.
Justice SP Garg upheld the trial court`s conviction against Pooran Chand and Girish and the subsequent sentence of three years jail term awarded to them for illegally confining the girl for several hours in a car.
The court relied upon the testimony of an independent witness who had heard the woman`s cries for help and received injuries when he had objected to the presence of the accused in odd hours near a hutment in Madangir area on the date of incident.
"The testimony of the independent witness inspires confidence as he had no prior animosity with the accused to falsely implicate and name them. He was not even known to the woman to favour her. The injuries inflicted upon him establish his presence at the spot. The accused did not offer reasonable explanation as to what they were doing on a deserted place at odd hours.”
"In the light of above discussion, conviction and sentence of the appellants (Chand and Girish) under Sections 366 (abducting a woman to compel her marriage) and 342 (wrongful confinement) IPC is maintained," the court said and directed the convicts to surrender before the trial court on May 2 to undergo the remaining sentence.
With regard to the allegation of rape against Chand, the court said "benefit of doubt is given to the appellant-Pooran Chand and his conviction and sentence under Section 376 (rape) is set aside."
The court took note of the fact that in the FIR, the woman did not mention about the incident of rape by Chand but during the trial she had told the court about it.
"The victim has failed to instill the required confidence of the court to confirm conviction under Section 376 (rape) IPC. To hold the accused guilty for the offence of rape, the solitary evidence of the victim is sufficient....But, in this case, the evidence of the woman, showing several lacunae projected above, would go to show that her evidence does not fall in that category and cannot be relied upon to hold Chand guilty under Section 376 IPC," the court said.
According to the prosecution, being aggrieved by the fact that the marriage of the girl was fixed by her parents, the accused had abducted and illegally confined her in a car for several hours and later deserted her near a bush in South Delhi on November 28, 1992.