Court finds substance to reduce the substantive sentence inflicted on the appellant : High Court of Delhi

The instant appeal has been filed under section 374 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.”) by the appellant against the judgment of conviction dated 15th January, 2016 passed by learned Additional Sessions Judge-01, North District, Rohini, Delhi (hereinafter “learned ASJ”) in Session Case (SC) No. 39/2015, wherein Appellant/Accused was convicted for the offences punishable under sections 323/506(II)/377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter “IPC”) and under Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (hereinafter “POCSO Act”) was held by the HIGH COURT of DELHI led by HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE CHANDRA DHARI SINGH in the case of LAXMAN @ LUCKY vs. STATE (CRL.A. 321/2016) on 04th March, 2022.

Brief facts of the case are that a FIR was lodged against the Appellant/Accused by the father of the victim. As per the FIR, on 5th January, 2015 Complainant’s son aged about 10 years disclosed him that on the very same day around 4:00 P.M. Appellant/Accused, i.e., Laxman took the victim to the NALA, near DESU Colony, Rana Pratap Bagh, Delhi and committed Sodomy(unnatural sexual act) and threatened him not to tell the incident to anybody otherwise he would kill him. On the said complaint instant FIR was lodged and the Appellant/Accused was arrested on the same day, i.e., on 5 th January, 2015.

Learned ASJ recorded statement of the Appellant/Accused prescribed under Section 313 (1) (b) of the Cr.P.C. Upon conclusion of the Trial in Sessions Case No. 39/2015, the learned ASJ vide impugned judgment dated 15th January 2016, has convicted the Appellant/Accused for the offences punishable under Sections 323/506(II)/377 of the IPC and Section 6 of POCSO Act, and vide order dated 28th January 2016

The learned counsel for the Appellant/Accused submitted that the learned Trial Court failed to appreciate the oral and circumstantial evidence(s) on record in its proper perspective and committed error by taking adverse inference against the accused, in regard to charges framed against him. Learned counsel further submitted that there is delay in lodging the FIR as the incident of sodomy happened on 15th August, 2014, however, the present complaint was lodged on 5th January 2015. The delay in lodging the FIR has not been explained by the complainant. It is also submitted that there is no medical report of the victim on record showing any sodomy. It is further submitted that the father of victim had himself denied medical examination of his son. Therefore, these facts are sufficient to create doubt over the allegations.

The counsel on behalf of the accused submitted that there is not a single witness to prove that whether such incident had ever happened. Alternatively, learned counsel for the Appellant/Accused submitted that the Appellant/Accused was arrested on 5th January 2015, and since then he is languishing in jail and has already completed about 7 years; the Appellant/Accused was about 21 years young boy on the date of the incident; his conduct in jail is found to be satisfactory in the nominal roll. Therefore, keeping in view his young age as well as the financial condition, it is prayed that his sentence may be reduced for the period already undergone.

Learned Asst. Public Prosecutor raised objection to the contentions propounded on behalf of the Appellant/Accused and submitted that the evidence on record squarely proved that victim was minor at the time of commission of crime; the appellant has committed sodomy on the victim; and all prosecution witnesses, exhibited documents and other circumstantial evidence(s) have proved the case of the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, the findings of the Trial Court do not warrant any interference.

The court held that the accused has committed sodomy on the minor victim, therefore he is guilty for the offence punishable under section 377 of the IPC and section 6 of the POCSO Act. As per the nominal roll of 2nd December, 2021 the conduct of the Appellant/Accused is found satisfactory in the custody and there is no other criminal case pending against him, the court has reduced the sentence inflicted on the Appellant/Accused. Court is of the opinion that the interest of justice would met if the substantive sentence imposed upon the appellant/accused is reduced to the period already undergone by him.

Click here to read the Judgment

Judgment reviewed by – Amit Singh

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