–Report by Arun Bhattacharya
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday 8th of February 2023 in the matter of THE STATE versus SACHIN SINGH & ORS reiterated the stand taken by the Additional Sessions Judge’s observation that “Mere vague allegations that accused tried to commit rape upon her does not ipso facto attract the penal provision of offence u/Section 376 read with Section 511 IPC.”
The present matter invoked revisional jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court whereby an order passed by the Additional Sessions Judge was in question. The order dealt with chargesagainst a brother-in-law and father-in-law, who had allegedly committed attempts to rape. The complainant had alleged that the brother-in-law had gotten hold of the complainant in an attempt to commit rape, while in another instance the father-in-law had forcefully entered the complainant’s room to rape her. Although the complainant tried to raise these issues with her husband and mother-in-law, all such attempts were suppressed forcefully with the only reason provided by them being that the brother-in-law happens to be a police official. Therefore, the complainant filed a complaint to the Commissioner of Police and accordingly registered an FIR against her in-laws. They were also made parties to the initial chargesheet filed in the court of learned Metropolitan Magistrate, Rohini which was later transferred to the Court of Sessions.
SESSIONS COURT’S ORDER
The Court of Sessions initially discharged the brother-in-law and the father-in-law under Sections 356 (Punishment of Rape) and 511 (Punishment for attempting to Commit Offences Punishable with imprisonment for life or another imprisonment) but framed separate charges of 498 (enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman), 406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust), 354(Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 34 (Common intention). The court’s primary focus whilst discharging the two respondents was that the mere fact of the brother-in-law getting hold of her hand and the father-in-law barging into her room late at night does not suffice to prove a case of rape. These allegations of the complainant involved attempts but no specific action was committed which may indicate a clear intention of rape. This order has been challenged in today’s petition.
The learned APP submitted that the learned Sessions court was not intended to satisfy itself on the graveness of evidence produced but merely on prima facie allegations of the complainant and he confined himself to the fact that the complainant had made specific allegations regarding her father-in-law and brother in the law regarding an attempt to commit rape on different occasions.
The learned counsel for the respondents’ primarily focused on the fact that no specific allegations were made against the father-in-law and brother-in-law and no such proof was also submitted on record. He also highlighted the fact that no action was committed in compliance with the definition provided under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code and this would suffice as a reason for discharging the same. To point out the same the counsel had referred to the judgment of Tarkeshwar Sahu v. State of Bihar (now Jharkhand), IV (2006) CCR 115 (SC).
DELHI HIGH COURT’S JUDGEMENT
The honourable high court pointing out that the revisional power under Section 397 of CrPC is very narrow which only allows it to satisfy itself to check the legality and correctness of an impugned order, reiterated the stance taken by the Court of Sessions and accordingly dismissed the revision petition.
READ FULL JUDGEMENT: https://bit.ly/40EQy8S