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Rape Cannot Be Justified With The Piece Of Cloth On Body

This article is brief study on recent judgement passed by Meghalaya High Court in Cheerful son Snaiting v/s State of Meghalaya Crl.A.No.5/2020 passed on 14.03.2022(1) where an Accused is punished for raping minor girl aged around 10 years of age.

The brief facts of case are as follows:
The said matter pertains to incident that took place on date of 23 September 2006 when the said victim was rape, the complaint for same was lodged on 30 September 2006 whereupon the minor victim was medically examined on 1 October 2006. According to the victim the said Accused forced enter the victims house caught hold of her hands and grabbed her forcefully. Then the said Accused took her to bed which was in her bedroom and then raped her.

According to the Victim she did not dare to scream for help as she was scared when the Accused removed his pants and raped her. The victim's statement in first instance was about accused had raped her and in her cross- examination she contradicted her statement where she mentioned of Accused rubbing his organ from top of her underwear and that she did not endure any sort of pain which again was contradicting when in medical examination she did complain of being in pain and trauma due to rape.

Highlights of the Judgement:
  1. In the very first instance the high court has made note of each and every fact carefully where in the High court has ought to made reliance of its judgement on basis of evidence collected by the lower court.
  2. The very first observation made by the Hon'ble High Court based on opinion of medical report of minor victim where medical examiner opined about her and made evidence that concluded about tear of hymen of victim which indicated upon being pushed by a foreign body and not due to the victim being involved in any arduous sporting activity.
  3. The second observation made by Hon'ble High Court was about the statement given by Victim during her examination-in-chief and cross examination which contradicted the whole crime of whether rape took place or not; where in Examination-in-chief she stated that "He too off his pants and he pulled my garments and then he raped me" and in her Cross-examination she stated that "After the accused entered my house he caught hold of my hands, opened his long pants and mine, but he did not open my under wear, he then took me to the bed which was in the bedroom and then rape me.

    I did not scream for help when I saw the accused opened his under pant as I was scared of him. I did not feel pain after the accused had rape me. It is a fact that the accused person did not penetrate his male organ inside my vagina but he just rubbed from the top of my under wear. It is a fact that I was tutored by my mother before I came to the Court today". These contradicting verses of incident in rapes cases are huge challenge where victims sometimes out of fear and sometimes out of shame while making admissions in court fumbles and end up giving misleading facts which makes a tough part for judges to not only to decide conviction or acquittal but also makes it difficult for the Public Prosecutor to bring justice to Victim
  4. The Third observation made by the judges was to consider the statement of accused recorded under section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code where before Magistrate he accepted his crime and at extra-judicial body at Local Dorbar also confessed that he had committed the offence but such confessions are not admissible in regular courts. To mention here Local Dorbar is traditional committee in Meghalaya to run the day- to- day administration of the villages and localities. Section 164 of CrPC states that: Recording of confessions and statements.
    1. Any Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate may, whether or not he has jurisdiction in the case, record any confession or statement made to him in the course of an investigation under this Chapter or under any other law for the time being in force, or at any time afterwards before the commencement of the inquiry or trial: Provided that no confession shall be recorded by a police officer on whom any power of a Magistrate has been conferred under any law for the time being in force.
  5. The Fourth observation made by Hon'ble High Court was where the Accused had denied of raping and Appellant has sought before court that as there is no rape constituted as there is no penetration because victim states that her inner garments were not removed, thus no penetration would constitute no rape because penetration which is key to commission of the offence of rape, these arguments of appellants was discarded by the Hon'ble High court because the said Accused had already accepted and confessed about his offence before the lower court and medical report spoke in very much contradictions to his denials; In any rape case medical report is of utmost importance wherein the whole truth of whether rape has taken place or not is clear in one go where there is delay in medical report there are high chances of accused taking the chance of legal technicalities escape their liability towards the offence committed by them;
  6. The fifth observation made by Hon'ble High Court made was made that where Appellant states that it was magistrate who concluded his statement as acceptance of offence committed by him as to rape wherein his admissions were never about confessing the crime but the observation of the court spoke otherwise where the court stated that the best form of evidence is admission and evidence by the magistrate is complete answer.
  7. The Sixth observation made by the Hon'ble High Court that the victim's statement where she said in court during her cross-examination that she did not endure any pain during the rape whereas medical examiner and his reports again spoke in contradiction which clearly mentioned about her pain and trauma that she suffered after rape.

    To mention here that the victim was ten-year-old when the incident took place now that the time has passed and she is adult the incident that took place was in year 2006 considering she was in pain or not is completely irrelevant where appellant tried to just frame a point to escape the legal consequences.
  8. The last observation and subject matter of this judgement is that whether garments of victim were removed or not rubbing accused's organ on victim's vagina would constitute rape in virtue of section 375(c) of the penal code, when a person manipulated any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration into, inter alia, the vagina or urethra, the act would amount to rape.
The object behind such judgement is to punish the Accused and make sure that our judiciary may give chances to accused to prove his innocence but justice is never denied and it makes sure that accused cannot escape legal liabilities at any cost. This incredible judgement where it clearly mentions that the accused convicted is right and upheld his conviction; which is again an motivation to each women out there whoever has suffered violence like this will get through legal troubles but surely be entitled to justice sooner or later.

Written By: Advocate Bharti Bhogesara

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