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Man serving jail term for rape released after Supreme Court acquittal

A man serving a 10-year sentence for the charge of raping his minor cousin was found innocent by the Supreme Court and released.

A Bench of Justices N.V. Ramana and Mohan M. Shantanagoudar held that the judgments of the trial court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court, confirming his guilt, was based “merely on conjectures and surmises”. The man in question, Sham Singh, has already served seven years of imprisonment. His brother and co-accused, Jai Singh, had already completed his prison sentence.

The Bench said it is a well-settled position that “the courts must, while evaluating evidence, remain alive to the fact that in a case of rape, no self-respecting woman would come forward in a court just to make a humiliating statement against her honour”. Even seeking corroboration of a victim’s statement amounts to adding insult to injury.

However, Justice Shantangoudar, for the Bench, concluded that medical evidence in this case did not support the allegation of rape. For one, the testimonies of the victim and her elder relative were untrustworthy. The other prosecution witnesses’ statements “bristled” with contradictions and improbabilities.

In fact, the main witness, the local milk man, was never examined. Besides, there was a running feud between the families of the victim and the accused persons.

“Courts have come to the conclusion based on assumptions and not on legally acceptable evidence... the story of the prosecution is built on the materials placed on record, which seem to be neither the truth, nor wholly the truth,” Justice Shantanagoudar wrote in the judgment.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 7:51:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/man-serving-jail-term-for-rape-released-after-supreme-court-acquittal/article24782039.ece

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