Supreme Court upholds conviction of rape accused, rejects claim it was consensual

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the conviction of a rape accused rejecting his contention that the act was consensual.

The division bench of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Indira Banerjee passed this order while hearing a Criminal Appeal filed by Lelu Alias Lain Kumar.

The appellant was convicted by the First Additional Sessions Judge, Mahasamund, Chhattisgarh, under Section 376(1) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and was awarded seven years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5000, in default whereof to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for 1 year. The appeal had been dismissed by the High Court.

Talha Abdul Rahman, the advocate appearing as Amicus Curiae, advanced three submissions:

a) The evidence on record shows that the age of the prosecutrix on the date of the incident was not below 16 years of age, as projected by the prosecution. In fact, a finding to that effect was rendered by the High Court in its judgment that the prosecutrix was not below 16 years of age.

b) The medical evidence on record in the form of the MLC Report Exhibit, as well as the testimony of Asha Mishra, did not suggest any injuries on the private parts of the prosecutrix.

c) The eye-witness account on the record through the depositions of the prosecutrix, as well as the other eye-witnesses clearly shows that the act in question was purely consensual.

The Supreme Court noted that the prosecutrix had clearly stated that the accused had raped her and she could not raise alarm as her mouth was shut. 

“The statement of the prosecutrix was fully supported by PW6, who stated that they had found the prosecutrix in the unconscious state soon after the incident was committed. In the circumstances, there is nothing on record that can even remotely suggest that the act was consensual. In the face of clear statements of the prosecutrix and the other witnesses on record, the Courts below were justified in convicting the appellant of the offense in question,” the Supreme Court observed.

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“We, therefore, dismiss the appeal insofar as the conviction and substantive sentence are concerned. However, we modify the default sentence and reduce it from one year to three months,” said the Court.
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