A Mumbai court in its recent judgment acquitted a 28-year-old man of kidnapping, raping and getting a 17-year-old pregnant in 2018, after witnesses did not support the prosecution case.
A special court observed no man accused of rape can be convicted if witnesses do not support the prosecution case or give quality evidence, as in the present case, where evidence of the minor was unreliable and untrustworthy. The judge said,
It will not be out of place to mention that today there is so much public outrage and a hue and cry being raised everywhere that courts are not convicting rape accused. It should not be ignored that the court has to confine itself to the ambit of law and contents of the file as well as testimonies of witnesses, and is not to be swayed by emotions or reporting in media.
According to the minor girl, she left home and got the accused take her to Punjab. She said she left as her step brother and uncle were raping her, and even told this to the magistrate when her statement was recorded. The duo was arrested and a POCSO case is pending against them.
The prosecution said the informant was the paternal aunt of the victim who told police the minor did not return home on July 9, 2018, and she had stolen Rs 60,000 from the house. When the minor was traced to Punjab, she was seven months’ pregnant. The accused, with whom the girl eloped, was arrested.
In court, the aunt said she told cops the girl was missing but did not lodge a report. She claimed police told her to sign on a paper.
The minor told court the accused was her brother’s friend and she liked him, so she proposed marriage. She said on July 9, 2018, she went Dadar railway station and called the accused to meet her. The minor said she told him to to take her to Punjab.
The court said charges against the accused in the charge-sheet were not made out. Noting that the accused has been out on bail, the judge said,
The prosecution has failed to prove its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
Among witnesses to depose in court were the girl, her aunt and police.
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