It is very dangerous to convict the accused, solely based on the testimony of the prosecutrix: Sikkim High Court

It is extremely perilous to convict the accused based only on the prosecutrix’s testimony, especially when the prosecutrix is willing to wait seven months to file the FIR for rape, leaving the accused completely defenceless. If the prosecutrix had filed the complaint quickly after the occurrence, there would have been some supporting evidence, such as a medical report or any other harm on the prosecutrix’s body that would have indicated rape. The judgment was passed by The High Court of Sikkim in the case of Makraj Limboo V. The State of Sikkim [Crl. A. No. 17 of 2019] by a Single Bench consisting of Hon’ble Shri Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan.

The facts of the case are that the victim lodged the FIR, alleging that she was raped by the appellant due to which she became pregnant and had to abort the baby on his advice. It was alleged that, thereafter, the appellant assured the victim that he would marry her. She further alleged that the appellant had taken her to his house after a month of the miscarriage in the pretext of changing his clothes and raped her again.

Fast Track Court, convicted the appellant and sentenced him under section 376(1) of the IPC, 1860 to undergo seven years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.50,000. It was held that the case of repeatedly committing rape on the same woman under section 376(2)(n) IPC had not been made out. The learned Judge concluded that the appellant had committed rape upon the victim could not be ruled out. The learned Judge also held that the victim had explained the delay in lodging the FIR in detail.

Learned Counsel for the appellant, challenges both the findings of the Learned Judge. He submits that even if this court were to believe the version of the victim, it would be seen that the act complained of may have been consensual and the FIR was lodged only because the appellant did not marry the victim. He further, submitted that the delay of five years in lodging the FIR have not been explained sufficiently.

Learned Counsel, on the other hand, vociferously supported the judgment of conviction and order on sentence passed by the Learned Judge. He contended that the in FIR, the statement of the victim recorded under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and her deposition in court had elaborately detailed the circumstances of how, when and why, the victim had been raped by the appellant which could not be demolished despite the exhaustive cross-examination. It was, therefore, contended that the judgment of conviction and order on sentence, need not be interfered with.

While allowing the petition the Learned Court opined that “although the evidence led by the prosecution leads to grave suspicion that the appellant had raped the victim, it would not be judiciously prudent to convict the appellant on suspicion alone. None of what the victim deposed have been corroborated even by her family members. There is evidence to suggest that the victim had been infatuated by the appellant and had expressed her desire to marry him.” In such circumstances, this court is also of the considered view that the appellant must be given the benefit of doubt.

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