Reliability of child victim testimony: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court has passed a judgment on 07-02-2020 in the case of State vs Raju CRL.L.P. 486/2017. Justice Vibhu Bakhru dismissed the petition on the reason that the court is unable to find any substantial or compelling  the reason for overruling the trial court decision.


The said proceedings arose from the FIR No. 130/2014 under Sections 308/323/354B/34 of the IPC, registered with PS Prasad Nagar. The case of the prosecution is that on 15.03.2014, on the basis of information received from one Brij Mohan, police officials reached at House No. 16/226 I, Bapa Nagar, Delhi where they found the respondent alongwith a young child ‘R’ (her name is withheld for protecting her identity). Initially, R claimed herself to be the daughter of the respondent, however, on verification, it was found that she was not his daughter. Thereafter, the child was taken to her father and her statement led to the registration of the FIR in question (FIR No. 130/14).

The victim’s statement was recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC, wherein she stated that on the day of choti holi, she was going to her father. On her way, she met her father’s friend Raju (accused/respondent) who took her to Anand Parbat in an autorickshaw. She stated that he took her to a room in his house and closed the door of the said room. Thereafter, he started misbehaving with her and touched her inappropriately at her private part (galat jagah;“bathroom ki jagah par haath laga rahe the”). She raised an alarm and thereafter, his nephew came and asked the accused to leave her or he would call the police. Both accused and his nephew had an altercation thereafter and then, the said bhaiyya called the police. After the police arrived at the spot, the accused asked the victim to tell the police that he was her father otherwise he won’t drop her to her father’s place. She stated that under fear of this threat, she told the police that the accused was her father. Thereafter, the police took the accused to the police station.

On the basis of the allegations, charges for commission of offences under Sections 363/354/354A of the IPC and Section 10 of the POCSO Act, were framed against the petitioner. He pleaded not guilty.

The petitioner has filed the present leave to appeal against a judgment dated 10.01.2017 rendered by Special Judge (POCSO Act)/ASJ-01 (Central Delhi) Tis Hazari Courts, whereby the respondent was acquitted of the charges of committing offences punishable under Sections 363/354/354A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and Section 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).

The Trial Court, after examining the evidence as obtaining in the case, observed that the prosecution’s case rests solely on the testimony of the child (the victim). The court observed that and while evaluating her testimony, it had to be kept in mind that the child is of impressionable age (10 years of age). It was the case of the defence that there were no public witnesses despite the presence of persons at the said place and the FIR in question was registered after about six hours. Further, the victim (the child) was of ten years of age and after her statements in her cross-examination, she could not be treated as a reliable witness. It was further contended that the child was taken by the accused (the respondent herein) with her father’s consent and thus, no offence of kidnapping could be made out.


Court took reliance of the case of Ghurey Lal v. State of Uttar Pradesh: (2008) 10 SCC 450, the Supreme Court in this case observed some principles by this this court came to an conclusion that in the present case, this Court is unable to find any substantial or compelling reason for overruling the decision of the Trial Court to acquit the respondent. The Trial Court has evaluated the evidence and its opinion that the prosecution has failed to meet the standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt) required to convict the respondent, is a plausible one. 22. The petition is, accordingly, dismissed. The pending application is also disposed of.

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