Rape-accused acquitted after 20 years of wrongful conviction: Allahabad High Court

Accused wrongfully convicted for Rape, criminal intimidation, and charges under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act, 1989 was acquitted after being in jail for 20 years. The Allahabad High Court set aside the conviction of the said accused in the case of Vishnu vs. State of Uttar Pradesh [Criminal Appeal no. 204 of 2021] presided over by the bench of Hon’ble Justice Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Justice Gautam Chaudhary.

In the above-cited case, on 16-9-2000, the accused had tried to rape the prosecutrix for which he was convicted for the charges of Rape and criminal intimidation and other offences under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act, 1989. The Appellant (accused) was in jail for 20 years. He had made an appeal for challenging his conviction by the session’s court which was finally being heard in the High Court on 28th January 2021.

Files were re-opened and it was found that in the medical examination of the prosecutrix, no injury was seen inside or outside her private parts. No proof showed that Rape was committed. The FIR was lodged by the woman’s family after 3 days of the incident which somehow gave an impression that they must have strategized the whole incident. Also, the testimony of the prosecutrix was found not to be that of a sterling witness and the medical evidence on evaluation belied any case against the accused/ appellant.

It was found that after 14 years of incarceration, the State of UP did not send the matter to the Magistrate for a re-evaluation of the cases for remission as per the mandate of Sections 432 and 433 of Cr.P.C. and as held by Apex Court in a catena of decisions even if appeals are pending in the High Court. The High Court contended that the case was not grave and it could have been considered for remission/ commutation. Hence, Allahabad High Court took the decision of acquitting the rape accused after being sentenced for 20 years and stated that “Most unfortunate, aspect of this litigation is that the appeal was preferred through the jail. The matter remained as a defective matter for a period of 16 years and, therefore, we normally do not mention defective appeal number but we have mentioned the same.”

Seeing the facts of the case, High Court requested the Registrar through the Registrar General to place the matter before Hon’ble the Chief Justice that periodical listing of matters be taken up in the High Court so that those who are in jail for more than 10 or 14 years, where the appeals are pending, may at least get their appeal heard which are mainly jail appeals. And therefore, it was ordered to the State of UP to reevaluate the cases for remission after 14 years of incarceration as per the mandate of Sections 432 and 433 of Cr.P.C. even if appeals are pending in the High Court.

Click here to read the Judgement

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