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Chhaterpati Vs. State of Jammu and Kashmir - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1970)3SCC201
AppellantChhaterpati
RespondentState of Jammu and Kashmir
Excerpt:
.....all of them proceeded to the magistrate and on the way they met hansraj vakil to whom also menga and duphru complained about the rape committed by the appellant and two other constables. bhat, she complained to him orally about the rape committed on her on the previous night but the magistrate told her to file a written compliant; a poor cultivator like menga could not have conceived the idea of laying a false complaint against a police officer merely because that officer told him that be would take action against him for filing a false complaint. both the trial court as well as the high court have accepted her evidence given before the committing court preferring to that she gave in the trial court. he deposed that when duphru was produced before him on the 9th september, 1963,..........evidence on record discloses that after the appellant was not able to trace duphru in the house of mangoo, menga came to know the where abouts of mangoo and duphru and hence sent his wife to get them to his house, there is no contra evidence on the point. we see no reason to disbelieve that version. hence we are unable to give credence to the version of the appellant.6. now coming to the prosecution case, it is fully supported by the evidence of duphru. duphru at the time of the occurrence was 22 years' old. her father is a cultivator. neither duphru nor menga could have had any enmity with the appellant. the version given by duphru appears to be natural. duphru's evidence is corroborated firstly by the evidence of her mother given in the committal court. in this case many witnesses have.....
Judgment:

K.S. Hegde, J.

1. This appeal by special leave is directed against the decision of a division bench of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in Criminal First Appeal No. 15 of 1966 on its file. The appellant, a police officer was sentenced under Section 376, R. P. C. (Ranbirsingh Penal Code) as well as under Section 342, R.P.C. The provisions of R.P.C. we were told are identical with those of I.P.C.

2. The case for the prosecution is that Menga, the father of Duphru filed a petition against his son-in-law Mangoo husband of Duphru in September, 1963 under Section 100, Cr.P.C., complaining that Mangoo is ill treating his wife and has wrongfully confined her. He sought the assistance of the magistrate to get his daughter released. On the strength of that petition, the magistrate issued a warrant for securing the custody of Duphru. That warrant was forwarded to the Ramnagar police station for execution. At that time the appellant was the Sub-Inspector of the police in Ramnagar police station. He took the warrant for execution and went to the house of Mangoo alongwith Baj Singh constable. At that place he did not find either Mangoo or Duphru, Later when he went to the house of Menga, he found both Mangoo and Duphru there. He asked Menga, his wife Jainti, Mangoo and Duphru to accompany him to Ramnagar as Duphru had to be produced before the magistrate. After coming to Ramnagar the appellant told them that the magistrate had been to a wrestling match and therefore he would produce Duphru before him on the next day. It is further said that he sent Menga as well as Mangoo back to their houses under one pretext or the other; thereafter in the night Jainti & Duphru were taken to the dak Bungalow; while Jainti was asked to remain in one room Duphru was taken to another room under the pretext of recording her statement and there she was raped by the appellant as by two other constables. It is further said that Duphru was not allowed to meet her mother till the next morning; when she met her mother next morning, she complained to her about the rape committed on her; lateron the father and husband or Duphru came there; they were also told about it; thereafter all of them proceeded to the Magistrate and on the way they met Hansraj Vakil to whom also Menga and Duphru complained about the rape committed by the appellant and two other constables. A little later when Duphru was produced before the magistrate, Mr. Bhat, she complained to him orally about the rape committed on her on the previous night but the magistrate told her to file a written compliant; subsequently she was examined by a lady doctor; thereafter she filed a written complaint; that complaint was investigated by the police and a charge-sheet filed against the appellant.

3. At the trial the prosecution was not able to examine the lady doctor who had examined Duphru as she had gone on study leave to U.S.A. Her certificate was proved by some other doctor. There is some controversy about its admissibility. It is not necessary for our present purpose to go into that controversy for the reasons to be presently stated.

4. The learned trial judge convicted the appellant under both, the provisions mentioned above. Under Section 376, he was sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine of Rs. 300/- in default to suffer further rigorous imprisonment for two months. Under Section 342, he was sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for three months. The two sentences were ordered to run concurrently. The appellant appealed to the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir. The learned single judge before whom the appellant's appeal came up for admission issued notice to the appellant to show cause why his sentence under Section 376 should not be enhanced if the High Court comes to the conclusion that he was guilty of that offence. Thereafter the appeal was heard by a division bench. The division bench confirmed the conviction of the appellant under both the charges but it enhanced the sentence under Section 376 to seven years rigorous imprisonment.

5. The plea of the appellant is that a false case had been brought against him by Duphru at the instance of her father Menga as Menga was afraid that he would proceed against him for filing a false complaint under Section 100, Cr. P.C. This plea prima facie is not tenable. A poor cultivator like Menga could not have conceived the idea of laying a false complaint against a police officer merely because that officer told him that be would take action against him for filing a false complaint. That apart, there is no basis for saying that the complaint filed by Menga under Section 100, Cr.P.C. is a false one. The evidence on record discloses that after the appellant was not able to trace Duphru in the house of Mangoo, Menga came to know the where abouts of Mangoo and Duphru and hence sent his wife to get them to his house, There is no contra evidence on the point. We see no reason to disbelieve that version. Hence we are unable to give credence to the version of the appellant.

6. Now coming to the prosecution case, it is fully supported by the evidence of Duphru. Duphru at the time of the occurrence was 22 years' old. Her father is a cultivator. Neither Duphru nor Menga could have had any enmity with the appellant. The version given by Duphru appears to be natural. Duphru's evidence is corroborated firstly by the evidence of her mother given in the committal court. In this case many witnesses have been tampered with and Jainti is one of them. She gave evidence in support of the prosecution before the committing court. She was cross-examined in that court. Nothing useful to the defence was brought out from her at that stage. But when she was examined in the trial court, she turned hostile to the prosecution. Therefore the learned Public Prosecutor was allowed to cross-examine her and thereafter her evidence taken before the magistrate was brought on record under Section 288, Cr. P. C. Both the trial court as well as the High Court have accepted her evidence given before the committing court preferring to that she gave in the trial court. Similarly they have accepted the evidence of Duphru. In addition to the evidence referred to earlier there is the evidence of Mr. Bhat, the magistrate. He deposed that when Duphru was produced before him on the 9th September, 1963, she complained to him about the rape committed on her by the appellant on the previous night. From a reading of his evidence, it clear that he tried his best to avoid giving truthful evidence but ultimately he had to admit that Duphru had complained to him about the appellant when she was produced before him. It is strange that this magistrate instead of taking cognizance of the complaint though orally made, ignored his responsibility and put off Duphru by saying that she should present a written complaint. His explanation that he was in a hurry to leave for some other place is hardly convincing. But the fact remains that his evidence discloses that Duphru did complain to him about the rape, when she was produced before him.

7. Ordinarily this Court does not enter into reappreciation of evidence which has been accepted as reliable by the fact finding courts. We see nothing special in this case which requires us to deviate from that rule. Apart from pointing out some minor contradictions in the evidence of some of the witnesses the learned Counsel for the appellant has not been able to satisfy us that there are sufficient reasons to reverse the judgment of the High Court. In view of our finding that the evidence of Duphru, Jainti and the magistrate is acceptable, we have not thought it necessary to go into the other evidence in the case on which the High Court has relied. For the same reason we have not thought it necessary to examine the question of admissibility of the medical certificate referred to earlier.

8. In the result this appeal fails and the same is dismissed. The appellant is on bail. He shall surrender forthwith and serve the remaining portion of the sentence imposed on him.


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