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Modification of the Trial Court order, sentence of the accused to changed 7 years rigorous imprisonment: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court in the case of rape of a deaf and dumb married woman, the Bombay High Court has substituted the sentence awarded by the Trial court to the Appellant-accused from 5 years to 7 years rigorous imprisonment and fine from Rs 1,000  to Rs 25,000. under the learned bench of Justices A.S. Gadkari & Milind N. Jadhav, J in the case of Madhukar Makaji Mudgul And Ors Vs. The State Of Maharashtra And Ors (CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 218 OF 2013)

FACTS OF THE CASE

The victim’s mother filed a FIR against the appellant due to the alleged occurrence of rape against her daughter “X,” according to the factual background of this case. The victim, her blind husband Bhausaheb, their 2-year-old kid, the accused, and his family all remained at the marital home. Victim ‘X’ uses gestures and sign language to communicate because she is deaf and dumb.

When the case was brought before the Trial Court, the ADJ issued a ruling finding the Appellant guilty of crimes covered by Sections 376 and 503 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), and sentencing him to five years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1,000, with an additional year of simple imprisonment if the fine was not paid. The State of Maharashtra filed a criminal appeal to strengthen the sentence, while the accused also filed an appeal to challenge the punishment.

OBSERVATION OF THE COURT:

The Bench stated that the victim’s testimony was recorded through an expert witness because she is deaf and dumb, and it was decided that the prosecution had properly satisfied with the requirements of Section 119 of the Evidence Act in supporting its case.“Victim i.e. PW-2 has examined herself through the expert witness i.e. PW-1, who has interpreted by sign language and gestures of the victim in the court, as such the evidence so recorded is oral evidence”.

Observing that the medical report made it apparent that human semen had been found on the accused’s pubic hair, the bench noted that despite the victim being deaf and dumb, she had summoned the bravery to first tell her father-in-law and then her mother before filing a report without delay. The Bench further stated that until and until such a horrible deed had occurred, no married woman would risk her life by levelling such a serious accusation against a member of her family.

The Bench held that the trial court’s sentence must be overturned due to the fact that ravishing such a disabled/vulnerable woman, notably when she was alone inside the house, and the defense’s entire case falling apart without showing the chain of events. The Bench therefore imposed a sentence of 7 years and ordered the accused to appear before the Additional Sessions Judge within 4 weeks after admitting the State’s appeal and rejecting the accused’s plea.

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Judgement reviewed by – Sudarshana Jha

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