L. Narasimha Reddy, J.
1. This revision is filed by the sole accused in Sessions Case No. 303 of 1996 on the file of the Principal Assistant Sessions Judge, Narasaraopet. He was tried for offence punishable under Sections 376 of the Indian Penal Code. The trial court through its judgment dated 6-1-1998 found the revision petitioner-accused guilty of the said offence and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years and to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/- in default to undergo simple imprisonment for six months. Aggrieved thereby, the accused preferred Criminal Appeal No. 15 of 1998 on the file of the III Additional Sessions Judge, Guntur. The lower appellate court through its judgment dated 25-4-2000 dismissed the appeal and confirmed the conviction and sentence passed by the trial court against the accused. Hence this criminal revision case.
2. Sri K. Suresh Reddy learned counsel for the petitioner-accused submits that initially the charge against the accused was one under Section 376 I.P.C. read with Section 511 I.P.C. and there did not exist any justification for the courts below to convict him for the offence under Section 376 I.P.C. It is also his case that medical evidence does not support the version of the complainant and there was no corroborative evidence to establish the commission of crime by the accused. He has extensively referred to the evidence on record as well as the judgment of the courts below.
3. The learned Public Prosecutor, on the other hand, submits that the prosecution had established its case beyond any pale doubt, by examining the persons, who have witnessed the commission of offence by the accused. He submits that the medical report in the case had corroborated the version of the prosecution.
4. The case, as projected by the prosecution before the trial court, was that the victim P.W.1 was resident of New Sugali colony at Sathenapalle and she was a minor aged about 14 years as on the date of the offence. On 23-10-1995 at about 3 P.M. she went to her grand father's house in the old Sugali colony. Since her grand father was not there at his house she was returning to her house at new colony. On the way the accused suddenly pounced upon her, nearby the house of one Baba, closed her mouth, took her into a thick bush of Japan Babul trees and forcibly raped her. At that time, P.Ws 2 and 5 the mother and brother of P.W.1, heard the scream raised by P.W.1 and went to that place. They found the accused on P.W.1 and on seeing them the accused ran away towards north. He escaped form being caught. P.W.6 and P.W.7, who were working in the nearby, land noticed the accused running away from the spot.
5. Thereafter P.W.3, father of P.W.1 arrived at the spot and submitted a complaint at the police station, Sathenapalle. A case was registered as Crime No. 152 of 1995 and P.W.1 was sent for medical examination as well as treatment. Another test was held by Professor of Forensic Science Department to determine the age of P.W.1. P.W.8 is the mediator. P.W.9 is the Medical Officer. P.W.10 is the Investigating Officer and P.W.11 is the Professor of Forensic Medicine, who examined P.W.1 as regards the determination of age. The prosecution has also marked Exs.P.1 to P.13. Important among them are Exs.P.4, wound certificate, Ex.P.5, the certificate issued by the Director of Forensic Science Laboratory and Ex.P.9, the age certificate of P.W.1.
6. It is one of the rare cases wherein the commission of offence of rape was almost witnessed by none other than the mother and brother of the victim who were examined as P.Ws. 2 and 5 respectively. Nothing was elicited from them to discredit their version. Added to this, is the circumstantial evidence of P.Ws. 6 and 7, who found the accused running away from the spot, hardly anything was elicited from them to doubt their evidence or to explain the circumstances under which the accused had to run away from the spot. P.W.1 has narrated the ghastly act perpetuated on her by the accused. The trial Court had relied upon the dicta laid down by the Supreme Court in BHOGIN BAI HINJI BAI's Case reported in 1993 Crl. L.J. 1996 as regards reliability of the evidence of the victim in cases of rape. Hardly there were any suggestions to P.W.1 to convince the Court to doubt her deposition.
7. Learned counsel for the accused made elaborate submission to the effect that the medical report and the evidence of P.W.9 the doctor who examined P.W.1 did not support the case of the prosecution. In her chief-examination P.W.9, has categorically stated the circumstances to suggest the commission of rape on P.W.1. A semblance of confusion was sought to be created by putting certain delicate questions to a lady Medical Officer during the course of her cross-examination. That, unfortunately is the plight of the victims and the Medical Officers who are invariably the ladies in all the cases where offences under Section 376 I.P.C. are alleged. However, it should be said to be the credit of the Presiding Officer who has been vigilant to remove any ambiguity in the matter wherein he elicited through the witness to the following effect:
' the findings given by him are sufficient to arrive at the conclusion as regards rape'
8. After this statement of P.W.9, she was not further cross-examined. Therefore, her version that the findings are sufficient to arrive at the conclusion that rape was committed on P.W.1 stands unrebutted. Hence this court is not prepared to accept the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner. Once the factum of commission of rape on P.W.1 is established and P.Ws. 2 and 5 physically found the accused on P.W.1 hardly anything more remains for the prosecution to place before the court.
9. The recent trend of the judgments of the Supreme Court particularly in cases where the offence under Section 376 I.P.C. is involved indicates that in a given case the deposition of the victim is sufficient to convict the accused. In this case, the victim was found to be below the age of sixteen years. She has categorically deposed the factum of her having been raped. It is not as if the accused was a stranger to the victim so that there can be any doubt as to the identity of the culprit. Both are residents of the same locality. In addition to that, the incident was witnessed by the mother and brother of the victim.
10. The learned counsel for the accused makes certain submissions on the basis of the statement made by the accused during the course of examination under Section 313 Cr.P.C. During the course of examination under Section 313 Cr.P.C. the accused stated that he was instrumental in getting the marriage in between the brother of the victim and another person contrary to the wishes of parents of P.W.1 and as such the entire family was having grudge against him. It is well settled principle of law that the statement recorded under Section 313 Cr.P.C. cannot be treated as evidence. Be that as it may, many a time the statements made by the accused during the course of examination under Section 313 Cr.P.C. are taken into account by the courts to rule out any element of suspicion on the findings that may ultimately be recorded as well as for considering the question of quantum of punishment. Even if the statement of the accused referred to above is to be taken into account, the reason pleaded by the accused cannot be said to have provoked P.W.1 a girl of 14 years, to go to the extent of alleging rape on her, or incited the mother and brother to support the same. In the Indian context, many instances of rape are not reported, just to protect the personal dignity of the individual or that of the family.
11. Having regard to the discussion undertaken above, this court is not convinced to differ with the findings recorded by the trial court and confirmed by the lower appellate court. The conviction of the accused for the offence under Section 376 I.P.C. is accordingly upheld.
12. On the question of quantum of sentence, the learned counsel for the accused submits that the accused is an agricultural labourer, having children of tender age and aged parents. He ultimately he pleads that a lenient view be taken as regards sentence. The crime committed by the accused is heinous. It is for this reason that the Parliament had prescribed minimum sentence. Under the Provisos to Sub-Sections (1) and (2) of Section 376 I.P.C. the courts are conferred with power to impose sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years or ten years as the case may be. However, adequate and special reasons are required to be recorded for that in the judgment itself.
13. Looking from the point of view of the accused, hardly there exists any scope for inflicting a punishment of less than the minimum one, having regard to the gravity of the crime. However, the plight of the children of tender age and old parents of the accused is also a social factor to be taken into account. This court feels that the extreme punishment and the welfare of the dependents of the accused have to be balanced. Accordingly, the sentence against the revision petitioner- accused is reduced to the one for four years rigorous imprisonment. The sentence as to the fine shall stand unaltered.
14. The Criminal Revision Case is accordingly dismissed with the modification as to the sentence indicated above.