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HC reverses acquittal, holds man guilty of raping daughter | Latest News Delhi

The Delhi high court on Tuesday held a man guilty of raping his minor daughter for two years, observing that the girl, instead of finding “monastery” in her father’s lap, found a “monster”.

People protest against a rape case. (Representative Photo)

In a 34-page ruling, a bench of justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain observed, “The wrongdoer was not any outsider or stranger. Victim must have thought that she would find a ‘monastery’ in the lap of her father. Little did she realise that he was rather a monster.”

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The bench said: “We need not remind ourselves that we are dealing with a matter where a daughter has been raped by her own father inside her own house, not once but repeatedly… It is not difficult to understand the dilemma of such mother as well.”

The court was considering a plea filed by the state, as well as the victim along with her mother and brother, challenging a city court’s June 2019 order acquitting the man for commission of offences punishable under Section 6 (punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of POCSO Act and sections 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

In the order, the city court ruled that the prosecution’s story did not inspire confidence and was not worthy of credence. The court, acquitting the man, ruled that there was not only gross delay in registration of the FIR but there were also numerous contradictions and inconsistencies which remained unexplained. The city court also ruled that the prosecution failed to disclose the true genesis of the crime.

The petitions before the high court asserted that the trial court failed to appreciate the evidence in the desired perspective and further gave unwarranted weightage to contradictions that were trivial and superficial in nature.

The accused asserted that he had been falsely implicated in the case as there was a discord between him and his wife. He claimed that his wife had projected their daughter as victim to come up with false allegation that he had raped her.

In his verdict, the bench of justice Manoj Jain rejected the contention that the case against the man was “motivated or planted”.

“Moreover, we are not inclined to hold that merely because there were minor quarrels between the respondent and his wife, the victim would churn out a story claiming that she was being sexually assaulted for the last two years,” the court said.

The judges noted that court can always disregard and condone the delay if it is explained in a satisfactory manner, provided the testimony is found to be of sterling quality.

“In a patriarchal set up, which is still very much predominant in our country, such matters are either not reported at all or reported when it is beyond the tolerance of the victim. Here, victim did not see any ray of hope as her father, despite being questioned, did not mend his ways and scolded not only his wife but also the victim and in such a peculiar situation, victim kept on tolerating such sexual assault for approximately two years. Noticing that her father had beaten up her mother and brother, she felt that enough was enough and went to the police station and gave a complete account about as to what had been happening with her,” the court said.

Consequently, the high court reversed the acquittal order, emphasising that the lower court misread and misinterpreted the evidence, and gave unwarranted weightage to the contradictions that were superficial in nature.

“There would rarely be a foolproof case where there is no deviation or omission or contradiction. Any victim of sexual assault, living under serious trauma, cannot be expected to give photographic version of the entire episode, particularly when such act was continuing for around two years. Pith and substance of her all the versions remain same and consistent,” the court said.

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