NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has commuted a 10-year sentence of a kidnapping-cum-rape case accused to seven years saying that “with the passage of time the parties would have buried the hatchet”.
Justice Indermeet Kaur reduced the sentence of the convict, Kannu alias Tilak, on an appeal filed by him challenging his conviction by the trial court in 2007.
The incident had occurred at Ambedkar Nagar in South Delhi in 2004. The convict had kidnapped the victim from her school and had taken her to Rajasthan and raped her. The victim was a minor. The police had recovered her two days after the incident.
The trial court had held the accused guilty mainly on the basis of the statement of the prosecutrix.
The convict has challenged the lower court order on the ground that the statement of the prosecutrix was full of contradictions as she had changed her version thrice.
However, Ms. Justice Kaur dismissed his submission. “The contradictions pointed out by defence counsel are not material, they are at best an elaboration of her earlier versions,” Justice Kaur ruled.
“In law, the conviction of an accused on the basis of the testimony of the prosecutrix alone is permissible, i.e. in a case where the evidence of the prosecutrix inspires confidence and appears to be natural and truthful. This has been re-iterated by the courts in a plethora of judgments. Corroboration of the testimony of the prosecutrix as a condition for judicial reliance is not a requirement of law but is a guidance of prudence under the given facts and circumstances. Minor contradictions and discrepancies should not be a ground for throwing out an otherwise reliable prosecution case, Ms. Justice Kaur observed.
Commuting the sentence, Ms. Justice Kaur said: “The offence relates to year 2004, and by the passage of time parties would have buried their hatchet on account of this circumstance. Ends of justice would be well met if the sentence of ten years be reduced to seven years.”