A man sentenced for 30-year in prison in 2014 for raping a woman after confining her in a house for nine months, has been acquitted by the Delhi High Court stating that the case was filled with “inconsistencies and improbabilities”.
Justice C Hari Shankar allowed the appeal of the man, Shiva, against the trial court’s 2014 verdict by which he was convicted and awarded 30 years jail term.
The court said that the accused shall be released from the jail forthwith unless his incarceration is required in any other case.
“The case of the prosecutrix, as sought to be set up against the appellant (Shiva) is, therefore, replete with inconsistencies, improbabilities and imponderables and cannot, therefore, in the opinion of this court, suffice to convict the appellant of having committed ‘rape’ on the prosecutrix, or even of having assaulted her in any other manner,” the court said.
“The findings of the additional sessions judge, to the contrary, in the opinion of this court, cannot, therefore, sustain, and deserve, consequently, to be set aside,” it said.
According to the prosecution, the woman had alleged that in 2012, when she was travelling in a train and went to the washroom, the man threatened to kill her family and covered her mouth with a handkerchief after which she became unconscious.
On regaining consciousness, she found herself in a room where the man allegedly used to administer her drugs, beat her and repeatedly raped her for nine months.
The woman had alleged that the man’s two friends, with covered faces, had also raped her.
Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey, representing Shiva, contended that the forensic report could not be relied upon and there was a delay of two weeks in sending the samples to the laboratory for analysis.
He also argued that consent was bound to be inferred on the part of the woman, especially as she and the man had cohabited for nine months in the same premises.
The high court, in its judgement, said there were several questions which remained unanswered, including as to how did the man managed, in a crowded train compartment, to make the woman unconscious by covering her mouth with a handkerchief, with no one raising an alarm.
The court said it was admitted by the woman that she had visited a shop with the man to purchase a television set and it was bought as per her choice.
“These facts, too, militate against the allegation of continuous physical assault and rape, by the appellant, of the prosecutrix,” it said.
The court further noted there were several rooms in the house, where the man was living as a tenant, and they all shared a common toilet and the woman must have visited the washroom several times in nine months.
“It is inherently unbelievable that she would neither inform any of the other tenants in the building about what was transpiring, nor would any of the tenants become aware of the fact that she was being subjected to rape and physical assault on a continuous and daily basis,” it said.