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It is essential to prove that the attempt was with an intent to commit the offence: Supreme Court

An attempt is possible even when the accused is unsuccessful in committing the principal offence. Similarly, if the attempt to commit a crime is accomplished, then the crime stands committed for all intents and purposes as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court through the learned bench led by Justice Surya Kant in the case of State of Madhya Pradesh v. Mahendra Alias Golu (Criminal Appeal No. 1827 Of 2011)

The brief facts of the case are that, about a fortnight prior to the date of registration of FIR, the two victim prosecutrix, aged about 9 years and 8 years respectively, were playing in the street located near the respondent’s house. The respondent, called them with the inducement that he will give them money. Both the victims went along with the respondent to his house which was totally empty at the time of the incident. Taking advantage of this opportune moment, the respondent thereafter undressed both the victims and made her lie down and started rubbing his genitals against the genitals of the both the victims. Both the minor victims, felt scared and shocked because of which they allegedly started crying. The respondent silenced them by threatening them with physical harm. However, after a few days, both victims revealed the details of the incident. After a lapse of 15 days of the incident, the present FIR was thus filed. The Trial Court convicted the respondent for the offence under Section 376(2)(f) read with Section 511 IPC though acquitted him under Sections 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The respondent was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment of 5 years and fine of Rs. 5000/­. The respondent laid challenge to his conviction before the Principal Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court and vide impugned judgment, the High Court modified the judgment of the Trial Court; set aside the conviction under Section 376(2)(f) read with Section 511 IPC and convicted the respondent under Section 354 IPC and sentenced him to undergo 2 years of rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs. 5000/­. The aforestated modification and resultant reduction in sentence are assailed before us at the instance of the Prosecution.

After the perusal of the facts and arguments by the respective parties, the Hon’ble Court held, “In our considered opinion, the act of the respondent of luring the minor girls, taking them inside the room, closing the doors and taking the victims to a room with the motive of carnal knowledge, was the end of ‘preparation’ to commit the offence. Since the acts of the respondent exceeded the stage beyond preparation and preceded the actual penetration, the Trial Court rightly held him guilty of attempting to commit rape as punishable within the ambit and scope of Section 511 read with Section 375 IPC as it stood in force at the time of occurrence. We, thus, allow the appeal, set aside the judgment of the High Court and restore that of the Trial Court. The respondent is directed to surrender within two weeks and serve the remainder of his sentence as awarded by the Trial Court.”

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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