Observing that offences of sexual assault are often committed in isolation, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court upheld the conviction of a 26-year-old man for raping a minor boy. The HC said that when medical evidence corroborates with the testimony of the victim then there is no need of other witnesses.
A bench of Justice Vibha Kankanwadi was dealing with an appeal filed by Mahesh Chavan (name changed), a resident of Hingoli, challenging the judgment of a lower court, which sentenced him to seven years of rigorous imprisonment in 2016.
According to the prosecution case, Chavan raped a minor boy who lived in his neighborhood. The accused was not seen by anyone in his village as he had gagged the victim's mouth while he took him to his house.
Chavan argued that there was no eyewitness to have seen him dragging the minor to his house. But this contention was trashed by Justice Kankanwadi, saying, "Such offences are usually committed in isolation and therefore, there cannot be an eye witness."
Chavan further argued that he was falsely implicated in the case as he and the victim's family had a land dispute and there was animosity between the two families.
"Even if for the sake of arguments it is accepted that there is such civil dispute; yet, the gravity does not appear to be so that with the help of a small child, the father would level such kind of allegations against the accused," Justice Kankanwadi remarked.
"Under such circumstance, the said defence deserve to be discarded in entirety. If there is no such background of false implication, then, though there appears to be some delay, it cannot be said to be fatal to the prosecution," the judge added.
The bench further took note of the medical evidence which concluded that the boy was subjected to forced intercourse. "The medical evidence is supporting the victim and there is nothing in the cross examination of the victim to discard his evidence or brand it as unbelievable or untrustworthy, then these facts only were sufficient to come to the conclusion that the accused has committed the offence," the bench said.
The court accordingly upheld his conviction by the lower court. "As regards the reduction of sentence is concerned, no reason has been shown why the sentence should be reduced. The offence has been committed, that too on a boy of 9 years old is a heinous crime and therefore, question of showing leniency does not arise," Justice Kankanwadi ruled.