Important Leading Judgements

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MADAN GOPAL KAKKAD Vs. NAVAL DUBEY AND ANR

Head Note

The medical officer should mention the negative facts in his report, but should not give his opinion that no rape had been committed. Rape is crime and not a medical condition. Rape is a legal term and not a diagnosis to be made by the medical officer treating the victim. The only statement that can be made by the medical officer is that there is evidence of recent sexual activity. Whether the rape has occurred or not is a legal conclusion, not a medical one.

Supreme Court of India : Upload Date - 4/24/1992

Judgement

PETITIONER:
MADAN GOPAL KAKKAD

    Vs.

RESPONDENT:
NAVAL DUBEY AND ANR.

DATE OF JUDGMENT29/04/1992

BENCH:
PANDIAN, S.R. (J)
BENCH:
PANDIAN, S.R. (J)
FATHIMA BEEVI, M. (J)

CITATION:
 1992 SCR  (2) 921      1992 SCC  (3) 204
 JT 1992 (3)   270      1992 SCALE  (1)957


ACT:
     Indian Penal Code, 1860 :
     Ss.   375,     376-Rape-Accused-Medical   graduate-Causing
slight    penetration  into  vulva of  8    years  girl  without
rupturing  hymen-Medical evidence indicating  hymen  intact,
abrasion  on medial side of labia majora and redness  around
labia  minora-Offence-Whether constituted  rape-Trial  court
not accepting prosecution evidence recorded acquittal-Appeal
against      acquattal-High   Court   held     victim's   evidence
satisfactory and found sufficient corroboration on  material
aspects, believed extra-judicial confession of accused being
voluntary not obtained by force, coercion etc., but accepted
victim's  evidence in part, convicted accused under  s.     354
and  sentenced    him  to fine of Rs.  3000 only-Legality     of-
Conviction altered to one under s. 376 by Supreme Court.
     penology-Sexual  assault  on  female   children-Accused
committed  rape     on  8    years  girl-Conviction-Sentence      to
commensurate with gravity of offence.
     Indian Evidence Act, 1872 :
     S.     24-Extra-judicial  confession-Corroboration-Whether
necessary.
     S.      45-Expert  opinion-Medical  witness-Evidence     of-
Whether of advisory character-Legal opinion of witness as to
nature of offence-Whether can be accepted.
     Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 :
     S.       378-Appeal    against       acquittal-High    Court's
jurisdiction-Whether  plenary  and unlimited to     review     the
entire evidence.
^     The respondent, a medical     graduate, was    indulged  in
gratifying  his     animated passions and sexual  pleasures  by
sexually assaulting and molest-
                               922
ing young girls.

 

HEADNOTE:
     The  victim  girl (PW. 13) aged about 8 years  was     the
daughter  of  the  neighbour of the respondent.     She  was  a
friend    of respondent's niece and both the children used  to
play  together.     According to the prosecution case,  on     the
fateful     day  when respondent's niece and PW.  13  with     her
younger     brother were playing in respondent's drawing  hall,
and there was no one else in the house, the respondent    sent
his niece with younger brother of PW. 13 outside. He  bolted
the door from inside, completely stripped off himself,    made
PW.  13     completely  naked and asked  her  to  do  fellatio.
Thereafter he slightly inserted his penis into her vulva and
lay  over her. After sometime he freed the child. While     she
was leaving the drawing hall, the respondent threatened     her
not  to     disclose  his    affairs     to  anyone.  She,  however,
narrated the incident to respondent's niece.
     In the evening PW. 13 told her mother (PW. 6) that     the
respondent  had asked her to suck his private part. She did
not  narrate  the whole incident out of fear. The  next     day
when  PW.  13  and respondent's niece were  talking  of     the
incident,  their friend PW. 12 came there. PW.    13  narrated
the  incident  to her and other girl friends. On  the  third
day,  PW.  13  told the entire incident to  her     mother     who
conveyed it to her neighbours PWs. 9 and 10 on telephone. At
about  9 p.m. when the appellant (PW.5), the father  of     the
victim girl, returned home and learnt about the     occurrence,
he  accompanied     by  PWs. 7,9 and 10  went  to    respondent's
house,    but he was not there and they informed    the  brother
and sister-in-law of the respondent of the purpose of  their
visit.    They  all  waited  there  till    midnight  when     the
respondent  came. The respondent, assessing  the  situation,
voluntarily  confessed his crime. He admitted that he  raped
PW.  13     and  also  committed  the  same  crime     on  earlier
occasions with his niece and other minor girls, but being  a
doctor    he  had     been careful enough not  to  rupture  their
hymen.    The  brother of the respondent begged of PW.  5     and
others    not to do anything till the arrival of his  parents.
Next  morning  when respondent's parents reached,  he  again
admitted his abominable crime of sexual assault on PW. 13.
     It     took  2-3  days  more to PW. 5     to  get  a  written
complaint  (Ext. P.7) lodged with the police through PW.  8.
The  police  investigation culminated in the  trial  of     the
respondent for an offence of rape committed on PW. 13.
     The  trial court held that the prosecution against     the
respondent  was launched due to some enmity between the     two
families and that the
                               923
prosecution  did  not  adduce any  acceptable  evidence     for
holding     the respondent guilty of offence under s. 376    IPC.
It accordingly acquitted the respondent.
     The  State     filed an appeal an  against  the  acquittal
before the High Court. The complainant-appellant also  filed
a criminal revision challenging the legality of the order of
acquittal.  On    the  basis of an  artical  relating  to     the
incident  published  in a foreign magazine, a  petition     was
addressed  to the Chief Justice of India with a copy to     the
Chief Justice  of the High Court concerned and on its  basis
another criminal revision petition was registered. The    High
Court disposed of all the three cases by a common  judgment.
It accepted the oral testimony of prosecution witnesses     and
the  extra-judicial confession made by the  respondent.     It,
however,  held the respondent guilty of an offence under  s.
354  IPC and sentenced him to pay a fine of Rs. 3,000  only.
The complainant-appellant filed the appeal by special  leave
to this Court.    The State did not file any appeal.
     It     was contended on behalf of the appellant  that     the
High Court erred in holding the respondent guilty of a minor
offence under s. 354 IPC when all the necessary     ingredients
to  constitute    an offence punishable under s. 376  IPC     had
been  satisfactorily established; and the sentence  of    fine
alone  imposed was grossly inadequate and  not    commensurate
with the gravity of the offence committed by the respondent.
     Allowing  the appeal and setting aside the judgment  of
the High Court, this Court,
     HELD   :    1.  The      prosecution    has   satisfactorily
established  its case that the respondent committed rape  on
PW. 13 by proving all the necessary ingredients required  to
make  out  an offence of rape punishable under    Section     376
IPC. [p. 947 B]
     2. When the evidence of PW. 13-that the respondent     put
his  male  organ  inside her vagina  and  clutched  her     and
thereafter  she suffered pain-is taken with the evidence  of
medical officer who found an abrasion on the medical side of
labia  majora and redness present around the  labia   minora
with  white  discharge even after 5 days, it can  be  safely
concluded  that     there was partial  penetration     within     the
labia  majora  or the vulva or pudenda which  in  the  legal
sense is sufficient to constitute the offence of
                               924
rape.  Moreover,  the  respondent  himself  confessed  twice
admitting the commission of rape without rupturing the hymen
which  confession is not disbelieved by the High Court.     [p.
946 C; E-F]
     3.1.  The evidence of PW. 13 is amply corroborated     not
only by the medical evidence and the evidence of PW. 12     but
also  by the  plenary confession of the respondent  himself.
[p. 947 A]
     3.2  Even    in  cases  wherein there  is  lack  of    oral
corroboration to that of a prosecutrix, a conviction can  be
safely    recorded, provided the evidence of the    victim    does
not suffer from any basic infirmity, and the  `probabilities
factor' does not render it unworthy of credence, and that as
a  general  rule,  corroboration cannot     be  insisted  upon,
except    from the medical evidence, where, having  regard  to
the  circumstances  of    the case, medical  evidence  can  be
expected to be forthcoming. [pp. 939 GH; p. 940 A]
     Rameshwar    v.  State  of  Rajasthan,  [1952]  SCR    377;
Bharwada Bhoginbhai Hirjibhai v. State of Gujarat, [1988]  3
SCC 217; Krishan Lal v. State of Haryana, [1980] 3 SCC    159,
referred to.
     4.1  In  order to constitute an offence  of  `Rape'  as
envisaged  by  the first Explanation to s.  375     IPC,  while
there  must  be     penetration in     the  technical     sence,     the
slightest penetration would be sufficient and a complete act
of sexual intercourse is not at all necessary. [p. 945 D-H]
     Parikh's    Textbook   of  Medical     Jurisprudence     and
Toxicology;  Encyclopedia  of Crime and Justice     (Vol.4)  at
page 1356; Halsbury's  Statutes of England and Wales (Fourth
Edition)  Volume  12; Harris's Criminal Law  (Twenty  Second
Edition)  at page 465; Gaur's "The Penal Law of     India"     6th
Edn.  (Vol.  II)  p.  1678;  Code  236    of  Penal  Code      of
California, referred to.
     R.v.Hughes,  [1841[ 9 C & P 752; R.v. Lines,  [1844]  1
Car  & Kir 393; R.v. Nicholls, [1847] 9 LTOS 179;  Natha  v.
Emperor,  26  Cr.L.J.  [1925]  page  1185;  Abdul  Majid  v.
Emperor,  AIR 1927 Lahore 735 (2); Mussammat Jantan  v.     The
Crown,     [1934]     Punjab     Law  Reporter    (Vol.  36)  p.     35;
Ghanashyam  Mishra  v. State, [1957] Cr.L.J.  469  AIR    1957
Orissa 78; D. Bernard v. State, [1974] Cr.L.J. 1098;  Prithi
Chand v. State of Himachal Pradesh, [1989] 1 SCC 432; In  re
Anthony, AIR 1960 Mad. 308, referred to.
     4.2  In  the  instant  case  there     is  acceptable     and
reliable evidence that
                               925
there    was  slight  penetration  though  not    a   complete
penetration. [p. 946 B]
     4.3.  The medical officer was of the opinion  that     the
abrasion measuring one and a half inches in length found  on
the  medial side of the labia majora and the redness  around
the  labia  minora  could have been caused on  the  date  of
incident.  [pp. 942 H; 943 A]
     Merely  because the inexperienced medical    officer     has
opined    that it was an attempt to commit rape,    probably  on
the  ground that there was no sign of complete    penetration,
her legal opinion as to the nature of the offence  committed
by the respondent cannot be accepted. (p. 943 CD]
     4.4. A medical witness called in as an expert to assist
the  Court is not a witness of fact and the  evidence  given
by  the medical officer is really of an     advisory  character
given  on  the basis of the symptoms found  on    examination.
The  expert witness is expected to put before the Court     all
materials inclusive of the data which induced him to come to
the  conclusion     and enlighten the Court  on  the  technical
aspect    of  the case by explaining the terms of     science  so
that  the  Court although, not an expert may  form  its     own
judgment  on those materials after giving due regard to     the
expert's  opinion  because  once  the  expert's     opinion  is
accepted,  it is not the opinion of the medical officer     but
of the Court. [p. 943 D-F]
     R. v. Ahmed Ali, 11 WR Cr. 25; Pratap Misra v. State of
Orissa, AIR 1977 SC 1307, referred to.
     Medical  Jurisprudence  and Toxicology,  (Twenty  First
Edition) by Modi, referred to.
     5. Law does not require that the evidence of an  extra-
judicial  confession  should in all cases  be  corroborated.
However,   the    confession  of    the  respondent      is   amply
corroborated  by the evidence of the victim (PW.  13)  whose
testimony in turn is  corroborated by PWs. 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10
and also by the medical evidence. [p. 939 B-C]
     Piara  Singh  v.  State of Punjab, [1978]    1  SCR    597,
referred to.
     6. In view of s. 378 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,
1973 (corresponding to s. 417 of the old Code), in cases  of
appeals     against acquittal as a matter of jurisdiction,     the
whole case is at large for review by the High Court both  as
to the facts and the law and it is clothed with the plenary
                               926
powers to go through the entire evidence and to come to     its
own  conclusions  of  guilt or    otherwise  of  the  indicted
persons     as  the  established facts  warrant  and  to  award
appropriate  sentence  which will be commensurate  with     the
gravity of the offence in case of conviction.
                    [pp. 940 DE; 941 EF]
     Sheo Swarup and others v. King Emperor, AIR 1934 PC 227
(2)  Wilayat Khan & Others v. State of U.P., AIR  (2),    1953
S.C.  122; Surajpal Singh and others v.     The  State,  [1952]
SCR 193; Tulsi Ram v.  The State, AIR 1954 S.C.I.; Aher Raja
Khima  v.  State  of Saurashtra, [1955] 2  SCR    1285;  Radha
Kishan    v. State of U.P., [1963] Supp. 1 SCR  408;  Jadunath
Singh  and others, etc. v. State of Uttar Pradesh, [1971]  3
SCC  577;  Dharam Das v. State of U.P., [1973]    2  SCC    216;
Barati v. State of U.P., [1974] 4 SCC 258 and Sethu Madhavan
Nair v. State of Kerala, [1975] 3 SCC 150, referred to.
     7.1.  The    findings  of the  High    Court,    rendered  in
exercise of its appellate jurisdiction are findings of    fact
which  cannot  be  reopened in appeal  especially  when     the
respondent has not challenged those findings and when  there
is  absolutely    no  reason muchless  compelling     reason     for
holding that those findings are either in utter disregard of
the evidence or unreasonable and perverse or any part of the
evidence in favour of the respondent is jettisoned. [p.     936
FG]
     7.2.  Although the High Court was fully satisfied    with
the  evidence  of  the victim PW. 13  and  found  sufficient
corroboration on all material particulars from the  evidence
of  PWs.  5,  6, 9, 10 and 12  and  held  the  extrajudicial
confession  given  by  the  respondent    as  true  and    made
voluntarily and not obtained by any inducement, coercion  or
threat and that there could be penetration without  rupture,
yet,  having  accepted the entire  prosecution    evidence  in
toto,  it  committed an error in entertaining a     doubt    with
regard    to the accusation of rape holding that there was  no
sign of injuries and that the offence was not one punishable
under  s. 376 IPC or under s. 376 read with s. 511  IPC     but
only one under s. 354 IPC.
                           [p. 936 A-C]
     7.3.  The    High Court even after  observing  that    "the
respondent's  activities were menace to the neighbours"     has
shown  a misplaced sympathy to the respondent which has     led
to the miscarriage of justice.    The finding that the offence
is one of outraging the modesty of woman for which  sentence
of   imprisonment  is  not  compulsory    is   erroneous     and
untenable.
                        [p. 942 A-C]
                               927
     8. Having regard to the seriousness and gravity of     the
repugnant  crime  of rape perpetrated on PW. 13     who  was  8
years  old  on the date of the commission  of  the  offence,
while convicting the respondent under Section 376 IPC he  is
sentenced to undergo  rigorous imprisonment for a period  of
seven  years and to pay a fine of Rs. 25,000 to     the  victim
girl.
                           [p. 948 B-C]
     9.     Though all sexual assaults on female  children     are
not  reported  and  do not come to light  yet  there  is  an
alarming and shocking increase of sexual offences  committed
on  children.  This is due to the reasons that children     are
ignorant  of the act of the rape and are not able  to  offer
resistence and become easy prey for lusty brutes who display
the  unscrupulous,  deceitful and insidious  art  of  luring
female children and young girls.  Therefore, such  offenders
who   are  menace  to  the  civilised  society     should      be
mercilessly  and inexorably punished in the severest  terms.
[p. 948 EF]
     A.R.  Antulay v. R.S. Nayak and Another, [1988]  2     SCC
602 at page 673, referred to.

 

JUDGMENT:
     CRIMINAL  APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Criminal Appeal     No.
447 of 1988.
     From  the    Judgment  and Order dated  5.9.1986  of     the
Madhya Pradesh High Court in Criminal Appeal No. 1023/83.
     Ms. Pinky Anand and D.N. Goburdhan for the Appellants.
     B.P. Singh and umanath Singh for the Respondents.
     The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
     S.     RATNAVEL PANDIAN, J. The factual matrix leading  to
the  filing  of this appeal which is quite simple  gives  an
account     of  a    sordid and obnoxious  incident    wherein     the
respondent, a medical practitioner who had created a private
hell  of  his own was gratifying his animated  passions     and
sexual    pleasure by sexually assaulting and molesting  young
girls  not  only in utter disregard of the  universal  moral
code, human dignity, his professional ethics and values     but
also in flagrant violation of the law of the country.
     The   brief  facts     of  this  shameless   intrigue      as
unravelled by the prosecution at the trial are as follows:
                               928
     The respondent/accused who just then graduated from the
Medical     College was staying with the family  consisting  of
his parents, his brothers, his sister-in-law Smt. Tara Dubey
and   niece  Richa  Dubey,  who     is  the  daughter  of     the
respondent's  step-brother  Niraj Dubey,  in  Adarsh  Nagar,
Jabalpur.   His     father     Bhagwan Dass  Dubey  (DW-2)  was  a
retired     Professor and his sister-in-law Tara  Dubey  (DW-1)
was  a lecturer.  His another elder brother at the  relevant
time  of  this occurrence was working as  Superintendent  of
Police    in Rajgarh District.  Opposite to his house at    some
distance Satish Bhasin (PW-9) and Sapna Bhasin (PW-10)    were
residing  with their minor daughter Priti.  Within the    same
locality  3  or     4  houses  away  from    the  house  of     the
respondent/accused,  the appellant Madan Gopal Kakad  (PW-5)
was living with his wife, a German lady, by name,  Elesabeth
Kakad (PW-6), his sister Veera (PW-7) and his minor daughter
Tulna  Sheri  (PW-13),    a girl aged about 8  years  and     his
younger     son Pulkit.  The family members of  the  respondent
and PW-5 were on cordial relationship making frequent visits
to the houses of each other.
     Tulna Sheri (PW-13) the unfortunate victim in this case
was  studying  in the third standard in St.  Joseph  Convent
along  with her class-mate Richa Dubey.     Tulna used to    come
frequently to the house of the respondent to play with Richa
Dubey and her other girl friends.  Tarun Lata Joshi  (PW-12)
was living with her father who was a tenant in the house  of
PW-5.
     According to the prosecution, the respondent who had  a
crush  on  young girls used to develop friendship  with     the
girls  who used to come to his house to play with his  niece
Richa  Dubey  by narrating interesting    stories     from  comic
books.     On  the day of this deplorable     incident,  i.e.  on
2.9.1982 at about 4 or 5 p.m.  Richa Dubey called Tulna (PW-
13)  stating that her mother wanted her.  Accordingly  Tulna
wearing     underwear   and jeans accompanied  by    her  younger
brother     Pulkit went to the house of Richa, but     found    none
except    the  respondent.  The respondent  found     fault    with
Tulna  for  having come there in jeans    accompanied  by     her
brother.   When     the  two girls,  namely,  Tulna  and  Richa
started      playing  in  the  drawing  room,  the      respondent
whispered  something  in the ears of Richa,  who  then    told
Tulna that she had been asked by her uncle (the     respondent)
to take Pulkit outside and narrate him some stories and that
the respondent would `make love', presumably meaning that he
would    tell  some  lurid  tales  of  sex  to  her   thereby
stimulating immoral thoughts so that Tulna might fall a prey
to his lewd and lascivious behaviour.  As soon as Richa went
outside taking Pulkit,
                               929
the  respondent     bolted     the door  from     inside,  completely
stripped  off  himself; removed the jeans and  underwear  of
Tulna  and  made her naked and asked Tulna to  do  fellatio,
that  is  to  suck his    penis.     Thereafter  the  respondent
cuddled and pined Tulna close to him, and slightly  inserted
his  penis  into  her vulva and started     sucking  her  lips.
Within a few seconds, he ejaculated and freed the girl    from
his  clutches  and thereafter put on his pyjamas  and  asked
Tulna  to wear her jeans.  Again the respondent longing     for
his  lascivious     passion, laid down Tulna on a sofa  in     his
drawing room and remained lying on her and closed her  mouth
so  that  the girl could not scream.  A little    later  after
wetting     his  sexual  appetite he got up;  opened  the    door
allowed the girl to go out.  While the girl was leaving     the
drawing hall, the respondent threatened her not to  disclose
his  affair to anyone, otherwise his elder brother who is  a
high  ranking  police  office  would  mercilessly  beat     her
parents.   Tulna came out of the room and told Richa  as  to
what all happened inside the room.
     In     the evening of that day she told her mother  (PW-6)
that the respondent was a dirty fellow and he had asked     her
to suck his private part, to which PW-6 instructed not to go
to  the house of respondent thereafter.     However, Tulna     did
not  narrate the entire episode to her mother on the day  of
the  incident  evidently  out of  fear.      When    Tulna  again
narrated  this    incident to Richa, the latter told her    that
her Chacha, referring to respondent, was like a dog and that
he  used to do the same thing with her also by stripping  of
her  whenever she came from the school and whenever she     was
lying  on her bed and further told that the respondent    when
asked as to why Tulna and Priti are in fair complexion,     her
chacha    replied that their complexion is fair  because    they
sucked    his male organ and that if Richa also did  the    same
thing she would also become very fair in her complexion. PW-
12,  Tarun Lata Joshi, who was present nearby  seeing  Tulna
and  Richa  whispering each other asked them  what  was     the
matter.      Tulna narrated the incident to her and other    girl
friends.   On the next day, seeing the    respondent  standing
near  the gate of his house  Tulna repeated the same  remark
to her mother (PW-6).  Thus on the third day, Tulna told her
mother    the entire incident which took place in the  drawing
hall of the house of the respondent on 2.9.1982.
     On     hearing  this horrid episode, PW-6  was  very    much
annoyed     and  conveyed    this painful and  jarring  piece  of
information  to     PW-7  (Veera).     Then  PW-6,  reeling  under
terrible shock, telephoned to her neighbours
                               930
PWs  9    and  10 and informed them  about  the  sexual  abuse
perpetrated  by     the respondent on her daughter.   At  about
9.00  p.m.  the appellant, Madan Gopal (PW-5)  came  to     his
house  and  learnt  about the occurrence.   Faced  with     the
traumatic  situation, the helpless  panic  stricken  parents
who have been so deeply disturbed by the dehumanising act of
the respondent rushed with boiling blood to the house of the
respondent  accompanied by PWs 7, 9 and 10 and searched     for
the  respondent,  but could not find him there.      They    then
informed the purpose of their visit to the elder brother and
sister-in-law  of the respondent who told PWs 5 and  6    that
the respondent had gone to a cinema hall and they would send
the  respondent's younger brother to fetch him.      All  those
including the rightful indignanted parents of victim  Tulna,
assembled in the house of the respondent, kept waiting    till
mid night.  The respondent after returning from the  theatre
realising  that      the entire atmosphere was thick  with     the
charge of sexual molestation against him and finding him  in
culde-sac  voluntarily confessed his crime stating  that  he
had  raped  Tulna and also had committed the  same  kind  of
sexual    assault on earlier occassions with Richa, Priti     and
other girls of that locality, but being a Doctor he had been
careful     enough     not to repture their hymen.  When  PW-5  on
being  acerbated  and  mentally     perturbed  on    hearing     the
confessional  statement     rushed towards     the  respondent  to
attack    him, respondent's brother and sister-in-law fell  at
the  feet  of  PW-5 and pathetically  beseeched     not  to  do
anything  till the arrival of the parents of the  respondent
in the next morning.
     Coming  to     know to the arrival of the  father  of     the
respondent  Bhagwan  Dass (DW-2) with his wife on  the    next
morning, Madan Gopal, (PW-5) along with PWs 6, 9 and 10     met
DW-2  who took strong objection for PW-5's behaviour on     the
last   night.    When  PW-5  informed  DW-2  that   his     son
(respondent)  had raped his minor daughter Tulna,  DW-2     was
not prepared to believe their accusation.  Thereafter at the
request     of  PW     5, he called his son  and  questioned    him.
Though     the  respondent  first     abjured  his     complicity,
however, admitted his abominable crime of sexual assault  on
Tulna.    Thereupon Bhagwan Dass gave his stick to Madan Gopal
and  said  that it was for PW 5 either to show mercy  or  to
give corporeal punishment as he deemed fit and also made  an
earnest appeal to PW-5 not to precipitate any action against
his  son.  Presumably, PW-5 and his family members  thinking
that  the  police  might not take  any    action    against     the
respondent since his brother was a Superintendent of  Police
and  his family was wielding a high influence in  that    area
and also fearing that any publicity
                               931
of  this  incident  would bring only a    disrepute  to  their
family    and that the future life of their daughter would  be
completely  shattered, suffered in silence for 2 or 3  days,
without approaching any authority.  However, on 7.9.1982 PW-
5  mustered  his strength and decided to  lodge     a  criminal
complaint  against the respondent.  Accordingly,  he  handed
over  a written complaint Ext. P-7 to his  friend.   Subhash
Bhujbal     (PW-8) and got it delivered at the police  station.
On  the strength of Ext.  P-7 a case was registered  by     the
SHO   of   Goprakhpur  Police  Station     (PW-11)   and     the
investigation  was  entrusted to ASI  (PW-14).     During     the
course    of  the investigation the victim Tulna    (PW-13)     was
examined by Dr. Chitra Tiwari (PW-4) on 7.9.82 on being sent
by  the police.     According to PW-4 there was an abrasion  on
the  medial  side of Labia Majora about     1-1/2"     in  length,
redness     present  around  the  labia  minora  with  a  white
discharge,  and hymen was intact and admitted tip of  little
finger.      PW-4 has opined that an attempt to rape  had    been
made.    Ext.  P-6  is the  medical  certificate.   PW-4     has
further stated that she prepared a slide for confirmation of
the  white  discharge  found around labia  minora.   In     the
cross-examination  she has deposed that the white  discharge
was not flowing out, but it was at the same place where     she
noticed     the redness and the discharge could have been as  a
result    of  infection  which itself could  have     caused     the
redness     found around labia minora.  Further she has  stated
that  she  did    not find any crest  on    labia  majora.     The
Chemical  Examiner after examination of the slide, sent     his
report Ext.  P-13 which did not reveal any seminal stains in
the  virginal smear.  PW-2, a Medical Officer  examined     the
respondent on 13.9.82 and found him as a virile person    with
well  built body capable of performing sexual  inter-course,
but  found  no injuries on his    person.      The  Investigating
Officer after examining all the witnesses and completing the
investigation filed the charge sheet against the  respondent
for the offence of rape punishable under Section 376 IPC.
     The respondent took his trial on the indictment that he
committed  rape on Tulna between 4 and 5 p.m. on  2.9.82  in
the  drawing hall of the house of respondent.  The  totality
of the evidence on the basis of which the prosecution  rests
its case consists of three categories, namely, (1) the    oral
testimony of the PW-13 corroborated by PWs 6 and 12; (2) the
extra-judicial    confession  made by the     respondent  on     two
occassions; and (3) the medical evidence.  Of the  witnesses
examined  Tulna     (PW-13)  alone     speaks     about    the   actual
commission  of    rape  on her.    Though    Tulna  reported this
unpleasant incident to Richa immediately after coming out of
the drawing
                            932
hall,  Richa  has  not    been  examined    by  the     prosecution
obviously  for the reason that Richa is none other than     the
niece    of  the     respondent  himself.    The  next   set      of
corroborating    witnesses  who    speak  about  the   victim's
reporting  about  the  incident are PW 6  and  12.   On     the
evening     of the date of incident even though Tulna  reported
to her mother that the respondent was a bad man and that  he
asked  her to suck his penis, she did not reveal  the  other
part of the incident relating to the commission of the    rape
obviously  fearing that her parents would beat her.  It     was
only  on the third day, the mother (PW-6) came to know    from
Tulna about the actual incident, presumably after the victim
girl  started  reporting this incident to PW-12 and  to     her
other  playmates.   The second category of evidence  is     the
extra-judicial confession made by the respondent before     PWs
5,  6,    7, 9 and 10 in the house of the     respondent  himself
after he had been sent for from the cinema hall.   According
to the above witnesses, this confession was made not only in
their presence, but also in the presence of the respondent's
brother     and sister-in-law (DW-1).  (It is but natural    that
the  brother and sister-in-law of the respondent  would     not
figure    as  witnesses  on the side of  the  prosecution     and
depose against the respondent.)     According to the  witnesses
the confession made by the respondent was thus:
     "I have raped the girl, but I have not ruptured her
     hymen.      You should not be perplexed, I  know    what
     are  my limits, I am a doctor.     You need not to  go
     to any doctor."
     Thereafter on the next day morning the respondent    made
the similar confession before his parents in the presence of
PWs  5, 6, 9 and 10 when PW-5 asked the respondent  to    tell
the truth before his father by catching hold of him.  On the
two  occasions the respondent confessed in English  "I    have
raped  the  girl  but not ruptured  her     hymen".   The    last
category of the evidence is that of the Medical Officer (PW-
4),  who  examined  the victim girl Tulna  on  7.9.1982     and
opined that there was an attempt of rape on Tulna.
     The  Trial     Court    for  the  discussions  made  in     its
judgment  arrived  at  a  conclusion  that  the     prosecution
launched  against the respondent on account of    some  enmity
between     the two families and that the prosecution  has     not
adduced     any acceptable evidence for holding the  respondent
guilty of the offence under Section 376 IPC and consequently
acquitted  the    respondent.  The reasons,  assigned  by     the
Trial Court for such a conclusion
                               933
are based on its following findings:
     (1) The evidence of PWs 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 is highly
     tainted and as such no safe reliance can be  placed
     on their testimony.
     (2)   The  extra-judicial  confession     which     the
     respondent had retracted cannot be said to be    free
     from threat, coercion or promise.
     (3) The extra-judicial confession as such seems  to
     be  unnatural    and it is wholly the product  of  an
     illegal advice and false fabrication.
     (4)  The  evidence  of the victim  (PW-13)  is     not
     corroborated by other independent evidence.
     (5) The First Information Report has been belatedly
     lodged     and there is no reasonable explanation     for
     such a delay.
     On     being aggrieved by the judgment of the Trial  Court
acquitting  the     respondent, the State preferred  an  appeal
before    the High Court challenging the order  of  acquittal.
It  is    seen from the judgment of the High  Court  that     the
complainant  who  is the appellant before  this     Court    also
filed a revision in Criminal Revision No. 596/83 questioning
the  legality of the order of acquittal and further one     Jay
Rao of New York (U.S.A.) on the basis of an article relating
to  this incident that appeared in a German Magazine  called
`Der Spiegel' and after visiting Jabalpur sent a petition of
grievance  addressed  to the Chief Justice of India  with  a
copy  to the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh.  On the  basis
of this petition, another revision in criminal Revision     No.
599/83 was registered.    The High Court disposed of the State
appeal and the two criminal revisions by a common  judgment,
whereby it allowed the State appeal for the reasons assigned
therein     accepting  the oral testimony    of  the     prosecution
witnesses  particularly of PWs 6, 12 and 13 and     the  extra-
judicial  confession made by the respondent.   Now  separate
orders were passed in the criminal revisions.  However,     the
High  Court found the respondent guilty of the offence    only
under Section 354 IPC and sentenced him to pay a fine of Rs.
3,000, in default to suffer simple imprisonment for 6 months
and also directed a sum of Rs. 2,000 out of the fine  amount
if collected to be paid over as compensation to PW-5.
     The State has not preferred any appeal before this
Court.    However,
                               934
the  father  of     the  victim  girl,  namely  PW-5,   feeling
aggrieved  by the judgment of the High Court has filed    this
criminal appeal mainly on two grounds, namely, (1) The    High
Court has erred in finding the respondent guilty of a  minor
offence     under    Section     354  IPC  when     all  the  necessary
ingredients  to     constitute  an     offence  punishable   under
Section     376 IPC have been satisfactorily  established;     (2)
that  the sentence of fine alone imposed by the     High  Court
under  Section 354 IPC for this serious offence     is  grossly
inadequate  and is not commensurate with the gravity  of the
offence     committed by the respondent.  When the matter    came
up for admission before this Court on 25.8.88, the following
order was made:
     "Special  leave granted, confined to the nature  of
     the offence and the sentence to be awarded."
     It     is pertinent to note that the    respondent  has
not  challenged the findings of the High Court by filing  an
appeal    and as such the findings of the High Court  rendered
with  reference to the evidence adduced by the     prosecution
and  the conviction based upon those findings  have  reached
their finality so far as the respondent is concerned.
     Before  pondering over the question with regard to     the
nature    of the offence and the quantum of punishment  to  be
awarded, we feel that it is necessary to recall some of     the
findings of the High Court.
     1.  The  High Court after observing, "there  is  no
     reason     as to why a small innocent girl would    have
     laid such a serious charge against the     respondent,
     if  it     was not true", held that  the    evidence  of
     Tulna    has  been  materially  corroborated  by     her
     friend Tarun Lata (PW 12).
     2.  Referring to the confession of the     respondent,
     it  has been held by the High Court, "Though  there
     can be penetration without rupture, the absence  of
     any sign of injuries, negatives a case of rape with
     a small girl".
     3. As regards the evidence of Tulna, the Court     has
     held  thus, "The statement of Tulna can  be  safely
     accepted  to the extend that the  respondent  after
     undressing himself and Tulna, asked her to suck his
     organ and he then lay over her.  She has been fully
     corroborated    by   her  mother   Elsbeth,   father
     Madangopal,
                               935
     friend Tarun Lata and neighbours Satish and  Sapna.
     They  have no axe to grind against the     respondent.
     No  adverse inference can be drawn for lodging     the
     report 5 days after the incident."
     4. Then referring the corroboration required to the
     extra judicial confession made by the respondent on
     two  occasions,  the High Court  has  recorded     the
     following observation:
       "After  realising  that his    misdeeds  have    been
       exposed and he can no longer hide himself, he had
       not option but to confess.  This was only  option
       left     when he was cornered by his own  neighbours
       and    relations..............................There
       was no question of any coercion or inducement  in
       presence  of     his  family  members  in  his     own
       house......................The   confession     was
       nothing  but by way of repentance for the  wrongs
       done     to  the young girls and  other     girls.      It
       appears  that  the  respondent  was    a  perverted
       person  and    was satisfying his  sexual  urge  by
       outraging  modesty of young girls who  fell    easy
       prey to his designs."
     5. Commenting on the finding of the Trial Court  as
     regards  the confession, the High Court  has  said,
     "The evidence of extra-judicial confession has     not
     been  accepted     because  the  witnesses  have     not
     repeated  like parrots in the same words  what     the
     respondent  had  uttered but the substance  is     the
     same  i.e.  the respondent confessed  that  he     had
     violated  (sic)  the  girl but     not   ruptured     her
     hymen.      Whether the witnesses said the same  thing
     in Hindi or English would not make any difference".
     6.  Coming to the probity question of the  evidence
     of Tulna, the Court said thus:
       "Although  she  was    a  child,  she    had  modesty
       alright and was ashamed to tell everything to her
       mother.  She was also not sure what would be     the
       reaction  of     her mother.  Therefore,  there     was
       hesitation on her part.  But she did tell to     her
       classmate Richa and also to her friend  Tarunlata
       (PW 12) about it on the next day.  Tarunlata     has
       corroborated her,.....................We are also
       satisfied  that Tarunlata has  deposed  regarding
       what she was told by Tulna....................."
                               936
     The  above findings and observations made by  the    High
Court  clearly show that the High Court was fully  satisfied
with  the  evidence of the victim Tulna (PW  13)  and  found
sufficient  corroboration on all material  particulars    from
the  evidence of PWs 5, 6, 9, 10 and 12 and that the  extra-
judicial confession given by the respondent was true and  it
was  not obtained by any inducement, coercion or threat     but
on  the     other hand it was voluntarily made and     that  there
could  be penetration without rupture.    Having accepted     the
entire    evidence adduced by prosecution in toto,  the    High
Court  nonetheless  entertained a doubt with regard  to     the
accusation of rape holding there was no sign of injuries and
held  that the offence is not one punishable  under  Section
376 IPC or under Section 376 read with 511 IPC but only     one
under Section 354 IPC on the ground that the respondent     has
outraged  the  modesty    of Tulna  by  "feeling    pleasure  in
getting him and the victim made necked, asking unwary  minor
girls  to  fiddle with his organ" taking  advantage  of     the
absence     of  the other adult family members  in     his  house.
Coming to the question of sentence, the High Court gave     the
following reason:
     "The  learned    Govt. Advocate has  nothing  to     say
     about the sentence.  There can be no doubt that the
     act of the respondent is most reprehensible, he was
     attempting  to     corrupt innocent and  unwary  minor
     girls    and  his  activities  were  menace  to     the
     neighbours, but since he is now gainfully  employed
     and  there is nothing to show that he is  indulging
     in his nefarious activities, no useful purpose will
     be served by again sending him to jail and sentence
     of fine will meet the ends of justice."
     As     we  have pointed out in the preceding part  of this
judgment,  the    findings  of the  High    Court,    rendered  in
exercise of its appellate jurisdiction are findings of    fact
which  in  our    opinion cannot be reopened  in    this  appeal
especially  when  the  respondent has not  challenged  those
findings  and  when there is absolutely no  reason  muchless
compelling reason for holding that those findings are either
in  utter  disregard  of the evidence  or  unreasonable     and
perverse  or  any  part of the evidence     in  favour  of     the
respondent is  jettisoned.  However, we would like to  point
out  that  the    trial court has     allowed  some    inadmissible
evidence to be let in by the prosecution which evidence     has
also  been taken note of and discussed by the Courts  below,
such  as  the statement alleged to have been made  by  Richa
(not  examined)     to Tulna about     the  respondent's  abnormal
sexual behaviour with her
                               937
despite     the fact she falls within the prohibited degree  of
consanguinity and the evidence touching the character of the
respondent that he has sexually assaulted not only Richa and
Priti but also a number of minor girls.     We, while analysing
and evaluating the evidence and considering the findings  of
the High Court quo the sexual assault committed on PW 13  by
the  respondent, proceed only on the basis of  the  evidence
legally      permissible  without    being  influenced   by     the
inadmissible  evidence    and some of  the  observations    made
thereon      by  the  Courts  below.   Before  expressing     our
independent  opinion  on  the  evidence,  we  give  a  brief
background  of the status of the witnesses and    the  cordial
relationship  between the family members of  the  respondent
and the witnesses.
     The  material  prosecution     witnesses  are     all  highly
educated and respectable people of the same locality  within
which  the  houses of the respondent and the  witnesses     are
situated.   PW 5, the father of the victim girl had been  in
Germany     working  in the field of journalism for  nearly  18
years  and he is well conversant with English,    Germany     and
Hindi  languages.  His wife PW 6 is a German lady who  after
having settled in India has learnt to speak in Hindi.  PW 7,
who  is     the sister of PW 5, is also a    well  educated    lady
working     as  a Teacher in a School.  PW 6 was  enjoying     the
facility  of a telephone connection in his house.  PW  9,  a
Contractor and his wife PW 10, who are the parents of  Priti
are  very respectable people enjoying a high  social  status
and  having  their  house  near     about    the  house  of     the
respondent,  provided with all modern  facilities  including
telephone etc.    It is said that the people in that  locality
inclusive  of the family members of the respondent  used  to
visit  their house to make use of their telephone.  In    that
way  the  family members of the respondent,  PWs  5,  9     and
others    were  having a very close and  cordial    relationship
till  this  incident  occurred.      As  earlier  pointed    out,
respondent's  father was a retired Professor and  his  elder
brother     was  then occupying a key position  in     the  Police
Force  in the rank of a Superintendent of Police  posted  in
the  district  of Rajgarh during the relevant  period.     His
sister-in-law  (DW-1)  was a Lecturer and his  uncle  was  a
leading     lawyer.   It  is  said     that  the  family  of     the
respondent was wielding high influence in that area.   There
is  absolutely no evidence, even to remotely  suggest,    that
there was any enmity or any kind of misunderstanding between
the  families of the respondent and PW 5 till this  incident
to  raise the accusing finger against the respondent  either
by  the little innocent girl (PW 13) or by PW 5 and to    make
this ignoble allegations at the risk of their family  honour
and the future prospects of PW 13.  Of
                              938
course,     the respondent has suggested a motive against PW  5
evidently  drawing  the     same  from  the  fertility  of     his
imagination  that Tulna had told him that her  parents    were
getting     money for spying for German Embassy and PW 5  after
coming    to know of this disclosure of spying has  fabricated
this  false  story  of molestation  of    his  minor  daughter
fearing that he would be exposed to criminal prosecution  by
the respondent's brother, the Superintendent of Police which
defence theory on the face of it has to be thrown  overboard
and  which in fact did not find acceptance at the  hands  of
the High Court.
     Ms     Pinky Anand, the learned counsel appearing for     the
appellant having thoroughly marshalled the facts,  presented
her persuasive submissions so eloquently in an effective and
at the same time in a very supplicatory manner by taking  us
through     the entire evidence very meticulously    and  pleaded
that   the  spine-chilling  facts  and     the   circumstances
surrounding  the  case do demand the  interference  of    this
Court with the judgment of the High Court so that the  wrong
done due to the erroneous conclusion of     the High Court     may
be remedied.  Though Ms Pinky Anand initially put forth     her
arguments  on  two  alternative grounds,  namely,  that     the
conviction should be altered into one under Section 376     IPC
or  the     sentence of fine imposed for the  conviction  under
Section     354  IPC  which is  grossly  inadequate  should  be
enhanced.   But     she left out the alternative  argument     and
stressed  the first part of her submission that the  offence
made  out is nothing short of rape punishable under  Section
376  IPC.  At one point of time, she feebly stated  that  at
least  the offence will be falling under Section   376    read
with  511 IPC on the opinion of PW 4, if not  under  Section
376 IPC which submission she completely gave up subsequently
and proceeded vehemently contending that the offence of rape
within the definition of Section 375 is clearly made out.
     The  learned counsel appearing for the respondent    took
much  pain in strenuously opposing the plea, articulated  by
Ms Pinky Anand and in supporting the impugned judgment.      He
urged  that the conclusion arrived at by the High  Court  is
the  reasonable     and  plausible     one  and,  therefore,    that
conclusion need not be disturbed.
     Though  it     is  not necessary for us to  enter  upon  a
reappraisal  or     reappreciation     of the evidence  since     the
findings of fact of the High Court have not been challenged,
yet we after most carefully and closely scrutinis-
                               939
ing  the galaxy of the proven facts, have no  hesitation  in
agreeing  with    the  High  Court  that    the   extra-judicial
confession made by the respondent which is not shown to have
been  obtained by coercion, promise of favour or false    hope
etc.  is  plenary in character and voluntary in     its  nature
acknowledging his guilt-i.e. the gravely incriminating    fact
of  the commission of rape on Tulna-in precise and  explicit
words.    This confession has been made in presence of a    body
of  person on two occasions inclusive of the family  members
of  the respondent as well as PWs 5, 6, 9 and 10.  PW 7     was
present     only  on  the    first  occasion     along    with   other
witnesses.   As ruled by this Court in Piara Singh v.  State
of Punjab, AIR 1977 SC 2274 = [1978] 1 SCR 597 law does     not
require     that the evidence of an  extra-judicial  confession
should in all cases be corroborated.  However, coming to the
facts of the case, the confession of the respondent is amply
corroborated  by  the evidence of the victim (PW  13)  whose
testimony  in turn is corroborated by PWs 5, 6, 7, 9 and  10
and also by the medical evidence.
     As     regards  the  evidence of PW  13  relating  to     the
incident,  the High Court has accepted only one part of     the
accusations,  namely, that the respondent asked Tulna to  be
an  active  agent of oral copulation by sucking     his  penis,
notwithstanding     the  fact that the High Court    without     any
compunction  has  accepted the evidence of PW  13  as  being
substantially corroborated and the extra-judicial confession
of the respondent as being free from any vice and held    that
"it is beyond comprehension that the complainant would    have
laid  a false and reckless charge against the respondent  by
involving  his    own minor daughter Tulna in  such  unsavoury
incident for nothing not caring about her future and his own
reputation and honour.    There is no reason as to why a small
innocent girl would have laid such a serious charge  against
the  respondent,  if it was not true."     In  our  considered
view, the High Court was not at all justified in reaching  a
distorted  conclusion which has resulted in  miscarriage  of
justice.
     On a careful scanning of the entire records, we have no
reservation  in     accepting  the evidence  of  PW-13  in     its
entirety and the extra-judicial confession of the respondent
which clearly makes out a case for an offence under  Section
376 IPC, the reasons for which we will discuss infra.
     There are a series of decisions to the effect that even
in cases wherein there is lack of oral corroboration to that
of  a  prosecutrix,  a conviction can  be  safely  recorded,
provided the evidence of the victim does not suffer from
                               940
any basic infirmity, and the `probabilities factor' does not
render it unworthy of credence, and that as a general  rule,
corroboration  cannot  be  insisted upon,  except  from     the
medical evidence, where, having regard to the  circumstances
of  the     case,    medical     evidence  can    be  expected  to  be
forthcoming.   Vide Rameshwar v. State of Rajasthan,  [1952]
SCR 377; Bharwada Bhoginbhai Hirjibhai v. State of  Gujarat,
[1988] 2 SCC 217; Krishan Lal v. State of Haryana, [1980]  3
SCC 159.
     We shall now briefly deal with the principles regarding
the  powers of the High Court to review the  evidence  while
examining  an  order of acquittal sitting in  its  appellate
jurisdiction.
     An appeal against acquittal provided under Section     378
of  the Code of Criminal Procedure falls under Chapter    XXIX
under  the caption "Appeals".  This Chapter covers  Sections
372 to 394. Whilst Section 374 deals with the `Appeals    from
Convictions',  Section    377 deals with the  `Appeal  by     the
State Government against sentence'.  As stated above Section
378 of the new Code (corresponding to Section 417 of the old
Code) gives the High Court full power to review at large the
evidence  upon which the order of acquittal was founded     and
to  reach its own conclusions upon that evidence  either  by
reversing  the order of acquittal or disposing of  the    same
otherwise  as  facts therein warrant.  In other     words,     the
High Court is clothed with the plenary powers to go  through
the  entire evidence and to come to its own  conclusions  as
warranted by the facts of the case concerned but, of course,
subject     to  certain guidelines laid down  by  the  judicial
pronouncements.     The Privy Council in Sheo Swarup and others
v.  King  Emperor, AIR 1934 PC 227 (2) in dealing  with     the
power  of the High Court to review the evidence and  reverse
the acquittal held thus:
     "Sections 417, 418 and 423 of the Code give to     the
     High  Court  full  power to  review  at  large     the
     evidence upon which the order full power to  review
     at  large  the     evidence upon which  the  order  of
     acquittal was founded, and to reach the  conclusion
     that  upon  that evidence the    order  of  acquittal
     should be reversed.  No limitation should be placed
     upon  that  power,  unless it    be  found  expressly
     stated     in the Code.  But in exercising  the  power
     conferred   by     the Code and before  reaching     its
     conclusions  upon fact, the High Court     should     and
     will always give proper weight and consideration to
     such matters as (1) the views of the trial Judge as
     to  the  credibility  of  the    witnesses;  (2)     the
     presumption
                               941
     of   innocence      in  favour  of  the    accused,   a
     presumption certainly not weakened by the fact that
     he  has been acquitted at his trial; (3) the  right
     of the accused to the benefit of any doubt; and (4)
     the slowness of an appellate court in disturbing  a
     seeing the witnesses."
     In     Wilayat  Khan & Others v. State of U.P.,  AIR    1953
S.C.122       this Court while examining the scope of  Sections
417  and  423 of the Code pointed out that even     in  appeals
against acquittal, the powers of the High Court are as    wide
as in appeals from convictions.     See also Surajpal Singh and
others    v.   The  State, [1952] SCR 193; Tulsi    Ram  v.     The
State,    AIR  1954  S.C.I;  Aher     Raja  Khima  v.  State      of
Saurashtra,  AIR  1956 S.C. 217 = [1955]2  SCR    1285;  Radha
Kishan    v. State of U.P., AIR 1963S.C.822 = [1963]  Supp.  1
SCR  408 holding that an appeal from acquittal need  not  be
treated     different from an appeal from conviction;  Jadunath
Singh  and others, etc. v. State of Uttar Pradesh, [1971]  3
SCC  577;  Dharam Das v. State of U.P., [1973]    2  SCC    216;
Barati    v.  State  of  U.P., [1974] 4  SCC  258      and  Sethu
Madhavan Nair v. State of Kerala, [1975] 3 SCC 150.
     We     think    it not necessary to swell this    judgment  by
recapitulating all the decisions on this point, but  suffice
to say that this Court has consistently taken the view    that
in  cases  of  appeals    against acquittal  as  a  matter  of
jurisdiction,  the whole case is at large for review by     the
High  Court  both as to the facts and the law and  that     the
true legal position is that however circumspect and cautious
approach  of  the High Court may be in    dealing     with  those
appeals     by exercising its plenary and    unlimited  statutory
powers,     the  Court is undoubtedly to reach its     own  proper
conclusions of guilt or otherwise of the indicted persons as
the  established  facts     warrant and  to  award     appropriate
sentence which will be commensurate with the gravity of     the
offence in case of conviction.
     Reverting to the instant case, if the conclusion of the
High  Court  that the offence made out    is  only  punishable
under Section 354 IPC, is scrutinised with reference to     the
evidence adduced by the prosecution and tested in the  light
of  the above principles of law laid down by this Court,  in
our view, the conclusion under challenge is not a reasonable
and  justifiable  one  since the totality  of  the  evidence
demonstrably  establishes a graver offence.   Moreover,     the
sentence  of  fine  alone imposed by  the  High     Court    even
assuming that the offence is punishable under Section 354 is
                               942
grossly inadequate and is not commensurate with the  serious
nature    of  the offence.  Of course, this  question  of     the
inadequacy  of    sentence  under Section 354  does  not    come
within    the purview of our consideration because we  proceed
on the footing that the offence is not a mere outraging     the
modesty     of woman but much more than that.  Further, we     are
constrained to hold that the High Court even after abserving
that  "the  respondent's  activities  were  menace   to     the
neighbours" has shown a misplaced sympathy to the respondent
which  is patently reflected from the penultimate  paragraph
of  its     judgment and which has led to    the  miscarriage  of
justice.   The impugned finding that the offence is  one  of
outraging  the    modesty     of  woman  for     which    sentence  of
imprisonment is not compulsory is erroneous and untenable.
     The   next     crucial  question  that  arises   for     our
consideration  is  whether the proved  facts  establish     the
offence of rape or only attempt to commit rape.     Before     the
High Court, the learned Government Advocate appears to    have
urged that the offence was punishable under Section 376 read
with 511 IPC though the charge was for a specific offence of
rape punishable under Section 376 IPC.
     The  medical officer, PW 4 who then only 28 years    old,
on  examining the victim after 5 days of the  incident    i.e.
7.9.82 has given her opinion as follows:
     "From    the above findings, it seems an     attempt  to
     rape has been made."
     In     the  cross-examination,  the  following  answer  is
brought out from the medical officer, PW 4:
     "I  concluded about attempt to rape, on account  of
     abrasion  and    redness on labia majora     and  minora
     respectively."
     It is true that this medical officer who could not have
gained    much experience by that time has given    her  opinion
that  the abrasion found would have been less than  2  days'
duration  which     opinion  of  course  is  not  precise     but
approximate   and  probable.   Though  the  prosecutor     who
conducted  the case before the trial court has not  put     any
question  clarifying her opinion in the     re-examination,  it
has been clearly brought out in the cross-examination itself
that  the  medical  officer was basing her  opinion  on     the
abrasion  found on labia majora and minora.  It     means    that
the medical
                               943
officer     was of the opinion that the abrasion measuring     one
and a half inches in length found on the medial side of     the
labia  majora and the redness around the labia minora  could
have been caused even on 2.9.82.  By this opinion, PW 4     has
given a margin of 5 days in fixing the probable duration  of
the injury.  The defence counsel has not further pursued and
put  any question clarifying the subsequent answer given  by
the medical officer regarding the duration of the injury.
     Though  in     the grounds of appeal, it  is    specifically
stated    that  all ingredients for constituting    an   offence
within    the ambit of Section 375, punishable  under  Section
376 IPC are made out, alternatively a hesitant plea is    made
that the offence at any rate would not be less than  Section
376  read  with 511 IPC.  We also prima facie  were  of     the
opinion     that the  offence may be punishable  under  Section
376  read  with 511 IPC but after deeply going    through     the
evidence, we have no hesitation in holding that the  offence
is  nothing short of rape punishable under Section 376    IPC.
Merely because the inexperienced medical officer has  opined
that  it  was  an attempt to commit rape,  probably  on     the
ground    that there was no sign of complete  penetration,  we
are  not inclined to accept PW 4's legal opinion as  to     the
nature of the offence committed by the respondent.
     A medical witness called in as an expert to assist     the
Court is not a witness of fact and the evidence given by the
medical officer is really of an advisory character given  on
the basis of the symptoms found on examination.     The  expert
witness     is expected to put before the Court  all  materials
inclusive  of  the  data which induced him to  come  to     the
conclusion  and enlighten the Court on the technical  aspect
of  the case by explaining the terms of science so that     the
Court  although, not an expert may form its own judgment  on
those  materials  after giving due regard  to  the  expert's
opinion because once the expert's opinion is accepted, it is
not the opinion of the medical officer but of the Court.
     Nariman,  J.  in  R v. Ahmed ali 11  WR  Cr.  25  while
expressing  his     view on medical evidence  has    observed  as
follows:
     "The  evidence     of a medical man or  other  skilled
     witnesses,  however, eminent, as to what he  thinks
     may  or may not have taken place  under  particular
     combination of circumstances, however, confidently,
     he  may  speak,  is ordinarily     a  matter  of    mere
     opinion."
                               944
     Fazal Ali, J. in Pratap  Misra v. State of Orissa,     AIR
1977 SC 1307 = [1977] 3 SCC 41 has stated thus:
     ".......it    is   well   settled   that    medical
     jurisprudence    is  not an exact science and  it  is
     indeed     difficult  for     any  Doctor  to  say    with
     precision  and exactitude as to when  a  particular
     injury     was caused......as to the exact  time    when
     the appellants may have had sexual intercourse with
     the prosecutrix."
     We     feel  that it would be quite appropriate,  in    this
context,  to  reproduce     the opinion expressed    by  Modi  in
Medical Jurispurdence and Toxicology (Twenty First  Edition)
at page 369 which reads thus:
     "Thus    to constitute the offence of rape it is     not
     necessary that there should be complete penetration
     of  penis  with emission of semen  and     rupture  of
     hymen.     Partial penetration of the penis within the
     Labia    majora    or  the vulva  or  pudenda  with  or
     without  emission  of semen or even an     attempt  at
     penetration  is quite sufficent for the purpose  of
     the law.  It is therefore quite possible to  commit
     legally  the offence of rape without producing     any
     injury     to  the  genitals or  leaving    any  seminal
     stains.  In such a case the medical officer  should
     mention  the  negative     facts in  his    report,     but
     should     not give his opinion that no rape had    been
     committed.   Rape  is    crime  and  not     a   medical
     condition. Rape is a legal term and not a diagnosis
     to  be     made by the medical  officer  treating     the
     victim.  The only statement that can be made by the
     medical officer is that there is evidence of recent
     sexual activity.  Whether the rape has occurred  or
     not is a legal conclusion, not a medical one."
                     (emphasis supplied)
     In     Parikh's   Textbook of     Medical  Jurisprudence     and
Toxicology, the following passage is found:
     "Sexual  intercourse: In law, this term is held  to
     mean  the  slightest degree of penetration  of     the
     vulva    by  the penis with or  without    emission  of
     semen.      It is therefore quite possible  to  commit
     legally  the offence of rape without producing     any
     injury     to  the  genitals or  leaving    any  seminal
     stains."
                               945
     In     Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice (Vol.4)  at    page
1356, it is stated:
      ".....even  slight penetration is  sufficient     and
emission is unnecessary."
     In     Halsbury's  Statutes of England  and  Wales  (Forth
Edition) Volume 12, it stated that even the slightest degree
of  penetration     is sufficient to prove     sexual     intercourse
within the meaning of Section 44 of the Sexual Offences     Act
1956.    Vide R v. Hughes, [1841] 9 C & P 752 ; R  v.  Lines,
[1844] 1 Car & Kir 393 and R v. Nicholls, [1847] 9 LTOS 179.
     See also Harris's Criminal Law (Twenty Second  Edition)
at page 465.
     In     American  Jurisprudence, it is stated    that  slight
penetration  is     sufficient to complete the crime  of  rape.
Code 263 of Penal Code of California reads thus:
     "Rape;      essentials-Penetration  sufficient.     The
     essential guilt of rape consists in the  outrage to
     the person and feelings of the victim of the  rape.
     Any   sexual    penetration,  however    slight,      is
     sufficient to complete the crime."
     The  First     Explanation to Section 375 of    India  Penal
Code which defines `Rape' reads thus:
     :Explanation-Penatration    is       sufficient      to
     constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to     the
     offence of rape."
     In interpreting the above explanation whether  complete
penetration  is necessary to constitute an offence of  rape,
various High Courts have taken a consistant view  that    even
the  slightest    penetration  is sufficient to  make  out  an
offence of rape and the depth of penetration is     immaterial.
Reference  may    be  made to Natha v. Emperor,  26  Cr.    L.J.
[1925]    page 1185; Abdul Majid v. Emperor, AIR    1927  Lahore
735  (2); Mussammat Jantan v.  The Crown, (1934) Punjab     Law
Reporter  (Vol.36)  page  35; Ghanashyam  Mishra  v.  State,
(1957) Cr.L.J. 469 = AIR 1957 Orissa 78; D. Bernard v. State
(1947) CR.L.J. 1098. In re Anthony, AIR 1960 Mad. 308 it has
been  held  that  while there must  be    penetration  in     the
technical   sense,  the     slightest  penetration      would      be
sufficient  and a complete act of sexual intercourse is     not
at  all necessary.  In Gour's "The Penal Law of     India"     6th
Edn. 1955 (Vol. II) Page 1678, it is observed, "Even  vulval
penetration has
                               946
been held to be sufficient for a conviction of rape."
     Reference also may be made to Prithi Chand v. State  of
Himachal Pradesh, [1989] 1 SCC 432 though the facts  therein
are not similar to this case.
     In     the case on hand, there is acceptable and  reliable
evidence  that    there was slight penetration  though  not  a
complete  penetration.    The following evidence found in     the
deposition of  PW 13 irrefragably proves the offence of rape
committed by the respondent:
     "Nawal     uncle    untied his pyjama and took  out     his
     male organ and put it inside my vagina and clutched
     me...........Nawal Chacha put his male organ inside
     my  vagina  and since it was fat it  kept  slipping
     out. After that my vagina was paining."
     ".....When  Nawal Uncle held apart, then there     was
     some white liquid coming out from his male organ...
     ..........
     "Nawal     Chacha     pressed  my mouth so  I  could     not
     scream."
     In     the  cross-examination,  the  following  answer  is
given:
     "I suffered pain by what Nawal Chacha did........."
     When  the evidence of PW 13 is taken with the  evidence
of medical officer who found an abrasion on the medial    side
of Labia Majora and redness present around the Labia  Minora
with  white  discharge even after 5 days, it can  be  safely
concluded  that     there was partial  penetration     within     the
labia  majora  or the vulva or pudenda which  in  the  legal
sense  is   sufficient to constitute the  offence  of  rape.
Moreover,  the    respondent   himself  has  confessed   twice
admitting the commission of rape without rupturing the hymen
which confession is not disbelieved by the High Court.     The
respondent  is a medical officer who has got  the  practical
knowledge  of  the anatomy of a human being and     the  tender
sexual    organ of a young girl and who must have     been  quite
aware  of  the implication of his  confession  having  fully
understood  the meaning of the word `rape'.   Therefore,  as
admitted by the respondent himself, he without forcibly     and
completely  penetrating his penis into the vagina of  PW  13
had slightly penetrated within the labia majora or vulva  or
pudenda     without rapturing the hymen  and thereby  his    lust
after emission of semens.  In this context, it is
                               947
not  necessary to enter into any nice discussion as  to     how
far the male organ has entered in the vulva or pudenda of PW
13  since  it  is  made clear  that  there  was     penetration
attracting  the provisions of Section 375 IPC. The  evidence
of  PW    13  is amply corroborated not only  by    the  medical
evidence   and the corroborating evidence of PW 12 but    also
by the plenary confession of the respondent himself.
     From  the above discussion, we unreservedly  hold    that
the prosecution has satisfactorily established its case that
the  respondent has committed rape on PW 13 by    proving     all
the necessary ingredients required to make out an offence of
rape punishable under Section 376 IPC.
     In     the result, we set aside the judgment of  the    High
Court  convicting the respondent under Section 354  IPC     and
sentencing  him to pay a fine of Rs. 3,000  instead  convict
the respondent under Section 376 IPC.
     What would be the quantum of punishment that would meet
the  ends of justice in the facts and circumstances  of     the
case, is the next question for our consideration.
     It     is very shocking to note from the judgment  of     the
High  Court that the Government Advocate did not address  on
the  question  of  sentence.   The  High  Court     thought  of
imposing fine only on the ground that the respondent "is now
gainfully  employed and there is nothing to show that he  is
indulging  in his nefarious activities".  We regret  to     say
that  we are not able to understand the above reasons  which
are not in conformity with the concept of sentencing  policy
in a grave case of this nature.
     We     are told at the bar that the victim who is  now  19
years  old,  after having lost her virginity  still  remains
unmarried  undergoing  the  untold agony  of  the  traumatic
experience   and  the  deathless  shame     suffered  by    her.
Evidently, the victim is under the impression that there  is
no  monsoon  season in her life and that her future  chances
for  getting  married  and settling down  in  a     respectable
family are completely married.
     Though the State has kept silence after the disposal of
the  appeal by the High Court, the helpless  panic  stricken
father of the victim (PW 13) with a broken heart has entered
the  portals of this Court and is tapping the  door,  crying
for justice.
     It      will    be  appropriate     to  refer   the   following
observation of Ranganath
                               948
Mishra,     J  (as     he then was)  in  his    separate  concurring
judgment  sitting in the Seven-Judges Bench in A.R.  Antulay
v. R.S. Nayak and Another, [1988] 2 SCC 602 at page 673:
     "No man should suffer because of the mistake of the
     Court.................Ex debito justitiae, we    must
     do  justice  to him. If a man has been     wronged  so
     long  as  it  lies within the    human  machinery  of
     administration     of  justice  that  wrong  must      be
     remedied."
     Accordingly,  we, having regard to the seriousness     and
gravity of this repugnant crime of rape perpetrated on PW 13
who  was then 8 years old on the date of the  commission  of
the  offence in 1982, while convicting the respondent  under
Section      376    IPC  sentence  him   to      undergo   rigorous
imprisonment  for a period of seven years and to pay a    fine
of Rs. 25,000 in default to suffer rigorous imprisonment for
1-1/2  years.    The fine amount of Rs.    25,000    if  realised
shall be paid to the victim girl who is now a major.  If the
fine amount of Rs. 3,000 imposed by the High Court which  we
have  set aside, has already been paid that amount shall  be
adjusted with the fine amount now imposed by us.
     "JUSTICE DEMANDS, THE COURT AWARDS"
     Before parting with the judgment, with deep concern, we
may  point  out that though all sexual    assaults  on  female
children are not reported and do not come to light yet there
is  an    alarming and shocking increase    of  sexual  offences
committed  on    children.  This is due to the  reasons    that
children are ignorant of the act of rape and are not able to
offer  resistence and become easy prey for lusty brutes     who
display     the  unscrupulous, deceitful and insidious  art  of
luring    female    children and young girls.   Therefore,    such
offenders who are menace to the civilised society should  be
mercilessly and inexorably punished in the severest terms.
     We     feel  that  Judges who bear the  Sword     of  Justice
should    not  hesitate  to use that  sword  with     the  utmost
severity,  to the full and to the end if the gravity of     the
offences so demand.
     The appeal is allowed accordingly.
                   Appeal allowed.
          

 

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