Decided on August 02,1969



TARE J - (1.) THIS is an appeal by the State against the acquittal of the respondent of an offence under section 376, Indian Penal Code said to have been committed by the respondent on Pramila Kumari (P.W. 10) a girl aged about 10 or 11 years on the noon of 28-5-1965, passed by the Sessions Judge, Bhopal in Sessions Trial No. 73 of 1965, dated 14-10-1965.
(2.) THE respondent, an artisan employed in the Heavy Electricals Factory at Bhopal, has his house adjoining the house of Manoharlal Bahel (P.W.15), the father of the prosecutrix. It was the prosecution case that at that time the respondent wag alone and the other adult members including some guests were away. In the house, some children were playing. When the children finished their play and departed for their respective homes, the respondent asked Pramila Kumari to go by a particular door. He immediately closed the door, took her on his lap and satisfied his lust by committing rape on her. When she tried to cry, the respondent gagged her mouth. When the respondent saw the private parts of the prosecutrix bleading, he proposed to take her to the house of one Tiwari where he would apply medicines. THE girl, however, refused and extricating herself from the clutches of the respondent, ran to her own house. On reaching her own house, she called out to her mother to open the door and fainted in the door itself thereafter. On regaining consciousness, she narrated the entire incident to her mother Smt. Raj (P.W.7) who sent for the father of the prosecutrix from the office. In the meantime, people of the locality had collected and they had surrounded the house of the respondent. THE crowd gave a beating to the respondent. Manoharlal Bahel (P.W. 15) lodged the first information report, Ex. P-1 after which the investigating machinery started moving. THE respondent was arrested, seizures were made and the parties concerned were sent for medical examination. The respondent in his defence denied the prosecution case and asserted that he was not in his house at the relevant time. He also tried to establish a plea of alibi. In the alternative, it was suggested that there were adult members present in the house and the appellant could not have committed such a serious offence at that hour of the day As such, it was also the defence suggestion that some one else might have committed a rape on the prosecutrix and the present respondent was sought to be implicated by tutoring the prosecutrix, The learned Sessions Judge felt that the testimony of the prosecutrix was natural and cogent which could be relied upon. But he also felt that a corroboration of the version of the prosecutrix was necessary especially in view of the fact that she was the only witness of the occurrence and moreover she happened to be a child witness. But in view of the state of medical evidence, the learned Judge thought that the necessary corroboration was not forthcoming. The learned Judge remarked that so far as the testimony of the prosecutrix and her demeanour were concerned, the same did not give any cause for suspicion, but in the light of other circumstances, her testimony would be un-acceptable without corroboration in material particulars. The learned Judge further found that the versions as given by the prosecutrix, by her mother, Smt. Raj (P.W. 7) and by her father, Manoharlal Bahel (P.W. 15) were by and large consistent with each other and the learned Judge would have had no hesitation in relying on the testimony of the prosecutrix but for the fact that he found that the testimony of the mother and the father of the prosecutrix could not be said to be independent so as to corroborate the version of the prosecutrix as the parents of the girl were interested witnesses. The main reason why the learned Judge gave the respondent benefit of doubt was that the medical evidence disclosed the presence of gonococci in the slides of the smears while no such gonococci were found in the slides relating to the respondent. Further, the learned Judge felt that the prosecution had not made an attempt to explain this discrepancy and, therefore, the probability might be that the appellant was not the person who might have raped the prosecutrix. We shall have an occasion to deal with this aspect from all angles; but the question in the present appeal will be as to what degree of corroboration would be sufficient if the trial Judge found that the evidence of the prosecutrix, as it stood, could be relied on but for the discrepancy in the medical evidence.
(3.) BEFORE dealing with the oral evidence, we find it convenient to deal with the medical evidence. As many as four doctors had examined the prosecutrix. The first doctor to examine the prosecutrix was Dr. (Mrs) A. J. Suri (P. W. 16) who found that the girl was limping and was escorted by her father. There was slight bleeding from the vagina and there was slight swelling of external genitalia. The doctor stated that the prosecutrix did not allow proper examination because of tenderness. Therefore, this doctor referred the case to Dr. (Mrs.) Asha Prakash (P. W. 2).;

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