Supreme Court: Coming down heavily upon the laxity observed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in exercising its appellate jurisdiction in the present case wherein the High Court, without proper appreciation of the evidence and considering the compromise entered between the rape victim and the respondent, converted the offence committed by the respondent under Section 376 IPC to that under Section 354 IPC, thereby confining the sentence to the period of custody already undergone, the Division Bench of Dipak Misra and P.C. Pant, JJ., observed that in cases of rape where the dignity of woman is brutally defiled, compromise or settlement between the parties is absolutely no solution. The Bench went on to state that the courts should refrain from adopting a liberal approach or any thoughts of mediation between the parties, for these approaches will be nothing short of a spectacular error.
In the present case, the respondent’s conviction by the Sessions Judge, Guna under Section 376 (2)(f) of IPC for raping a 7 year old girl was reversed by the High Court, by converting the offence to that under Section 354 IPC, thus restricting the term of sentence. C.D. Singh appearing for the appellant contended that the High Court is duty bound under its appellate jurisdiction to re-appreciate the evidence and arrive at a proper decision. While Asha J. Madan, appearing for the respondent, did not find any fault with the decision of the High Court.
The Bench expressed its annoyance upon the laconic approach of the High Court in dealing with the present case, thereby puncturing the criminal justice dispensation system. While referring to relevant precedents, the Court was of the opinion that an appellate court has a duty to appreciate all the important features of a case. The Court further observed that High Court being influenced by the compromise entered between the parties adopted a liberal approach which is impermissible. Thus on perusal of the facts, the Court ordered the matter to be remitted to the High Court for reappraisal of the evidence and for a fresh decision. State of M.P. v. Madanlal, 2015 SCC OnLine SC 579, decided on 01.07.2015