Mumbai

Mother, son acquitted 14 years after conviction

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HC says prosecution failed to prove rape, abduction case beyond reasonable doubt

The Bombay High Court has acquitted a mother-son duo, 14 years after they were convicted for raping and kidnapping a minor girl, on the ground that the ‘prosecution failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt’.

A single Bench of Justice V.M. Deshpande was hearing an appeal filed by Subhash Bharsakle and his mother Leelabai challenging their conviction and sentencing by an additional sessions judge on March 7, 2005.

The case dates back to February 2001, when Leelabai’s niece filed a rape complaint against Mr. Bharsakle. She alleged that she was raped in October 2000, and the next month, Leelabai picked her up from school and took her to a field. Leelabai gave her ₹40 and told her that Mr. Bharsakle would end his life if she refused to meet him. Later, she pressured her to marry her son.

Mr. Bharsakle was convicted under Section 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for seven years and imposed a fine of ₹500. Both mother and son were convicted under Sections 363 (punishment for kidnapping) and 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage) of the IPC.

The advocate appearing for the duo contended that since the victim had provided unreliable evidence, Subhash cannot be convicted. However, the public prosecutor said that it had been proved that the girl was a minor at the time of the crime.

The court said, “The prosecution could not establish the spot of occurrence of rape and quality of evidence, which in my view, does not inspire confidence at all. It would be very harsh to reach the conclusion that Subhash raped the victim.”

The Bench then set aside the order of conviction and acquitted the duo. The Bench said, “I have no hesitation in my mind to record that the prosecution has failed to prove the case against the appellants beyond reasonable doubt. Not only has the prosecution utterly failed to prove that the girl was present in school on the day of the incident but also she was taken away by Leelabai and subjected to rape.”

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 7:56:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/mother-son-acquitted-14-years-after-conviction/article29544511.ece

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