Lesser sentence awarded to a rape convict in a two decade old case upon entering into a compromise with the victim

Supreme Court: In the present case, where the appellant was charged under Section 376 of IPC for committing rape upon a woman labourer working in his fields, a Bench of P.C. Ghose and M.Y Eqbal. JJ., while contemplating that whether the present case falls in the category of “adequate and special reason” under Section 376(2) (g), stated that the instant case which is 20 years old and the parties have married and entered into compromise, comes under “adequate and special reasons” and is a suitable case under the proviso in Section 376 (2) (g) for awarding a lesser sentence.

As per the case history, the appellant was convicted by the Trial Court under Section 376 and was sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment, which was further upheld by the Madhya Pradesh High Court on the ground that a victim of a sexual assault is not an accomplice to the crime and in prosecution of rape, the law does not require corroboration of the victim’s statement/evidence. Appearing for the appellant, Pratibha Jain cast doubts upon the evidences procured by the prosecution and contended that the evidences are not enough to link the offence to the accused as there is no corroboration and the prosecution contradicts itself on many important aspects. While C.D. Singh, appearing for the State of M.P. relied solely on the fact that a trace of semen was found on the victim’s petticoat, thereby clearly suggesting the commission of the offence by the appellant.

The Court upon perusing the contentions, relied upon the decision in Baldev Singh v. State of Punjab, (2011) 13 SCC 705, where the Supreme Court invoked the proviso under Section 376 (2) (g) of IPC as the case was very old and the parties had entered into compromise. Thus the Court while upholding the conviction of the appellant, reduced the sentence to the period already undergone by the appellant. Ravindra v. State of M.P., 2015 SCC OnLine SC 168, decided on 26.02.2015

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