(1.)These two appeals by special leave, one by the State of Karnataka and the other by the victim of the crime, are directed against the judgment and order of the High court of Karnataka in Criminal Appeal No. 157 of 1986 decided on 20/11/1987 recording an order of acquittal in favour of the accused-respondents.
(2.)Kum. Narayanamma is the prosecutrix. She was about 14 years of age on the date of the commission of the offence. She is illiterate and used to eke out a living, as did her other family members, by working as an agricultural labourer (in common parlance a "coolie"). On 3/10/1983 at about 3.30 p. m. she had gone towards the fields to cut some grass for her cattle, and while she was returning at about 5. 00 p. m. with a basket full of grass, she found accused I, Muniyappa, aged about 23 years standing close to a "honge" tree on the footpath. When she got close to him, he caught her by the hands, speaking to her suggestively with an evil design. Accused 2 Venkataswamy aged about 17 years emerged from a close-by fence and caught her by the legs. Both of them bodily lifted the prosecutrix by her hands and legs and took her a few feet away in the field of one Gopalappa known as the "field of stones". There Sorghum (jowar) crop was standing and they dumped her on the standing jowar plants which matted. Accused 3, Somanna, aged about 20years, who was already present there, lifted her clothes, forcibly inserted his organ in the private parts of the prosecutrix as also broke open the hooks of her blouse and squeezed her breasts, while the victim was immobilised by Muniyappa who held her by her hands closing her mouth and Venkataswamy catching her by the legs. Having laid up on the prosecutrix for sometime Somanna got up and immediately thereafter Venkataswamy indulged in the same act. At that time, Somanna stood close by, and Muniyappa kept holding the hands of the prosecutrix for her resistance had somewhat waned away by that time. She kept raising however screams and cries all the same which attracted on the scene a grazier by the name of Muniswamappa, Public Witness 2. He had seen Muniyappa having immobilised the prosecutrix, Somanna standing close by and Venkataswamy raping her. On seeing Public Witness 2, the three accused ran away. In the meantime the nephew of the prosecutrix, a child about 9 years named Yellappa Public Witness 7 helped her get up and made her wear her clothes. Then came the sister of the prosecutrix by the name Nagrathna Public Witness 5 and her mother, Venkatagiriamma, Public Witness 6 to whom the prosecutrix narrated as to what had happened to her. They then took her to the village. In the meantime Krishnappa Public Witness 8, brother of the prosecutrix arrived and he too was told by the prosecutrix as to what had happened to her. Then he taking his sister, the prosecutrix as also Muniswamappa Public Witness 2 went to the Police Station, Bangarpet having travelled a distance of about 9 miles on foot where first information report was lodged on the statement of the prosecutrix much before midnight. The police then went into action by inspecting the spot wherefrom they could recover some pieces of broken bangles belonging to the prosecutrix. The police also took care of arresting the accused and in having them medically examined from Dr Basavaraju, Public Witness 4 on the day following the day of the occurrence at about 1.15 p. m. Beforehand the police had taken care to have the prosecutrix examined by Dr C. V. Reeta, Public Witness 3 immediately after the recording of the FIR within about six hours of the incident.
(3.)On completion of the investigation, the three accused respondents were put up for trial, Muniyappa constructively with the aid of Section 114 of the Indian Penal Code and the other two accused directly for the offence of rape, besides all the three accused for peripheral offences. The trial ended in conviction of the respondents under all counts for which they were awarded terms of imprisonment as disclosed in the judgment and order of the Sessions Judge, Kolar. The High court reversed that decision and recorded order of acquittal.