Man convicted for impregnating minor niece acquitted by Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court has acquitted a maternal uncle who had been sentenced to ten years in prison for sexually assaulting his minor niece who later gave birth to a daughter.

A bench of Justice Sarang Kotwal was hearing an appeal against a judgement passed by the Mangaon Sessions court in Raigad which had concluded after a trial that based on a DNA report, the maternal uncle of the minor child was responsible for the sexual assault.

The case of the prosecution was that the minor girl in 2014, was in eighth standard when her parents had separated and she was under the care of her maternal uncle and aunt. The school in which the girl studied had undertaken a medical checkup of all students and she was found to be unwell. The girl’s guardians were called and the school recommended that the minor be medically checked at a hospital.

The hospital informed the maternal uncle and aunt that she was pregnant and when she was asked about it, the girl named a man who had allegedly raped her.

Later, when the child was born, the child’s DNA and that of the accused were sent for testing. The forensic experts concluded that the accused was not the father.

The investigators then collected four more samples for DNA testing, including that of the maternal uncle and sent them to the laboratory. The reports concluded that the maternal uncle was the father of the child to whom the minor had given birth. It was based on this report that the trial court had convicted and sentenced the maternal uncle to seven years imprisonment while the first accused who was named by the minor was acquitted.

However, when the maternal uncle filed the appeal, his lawyer Vivek Arote pointed to various discrepancies in the handling of the most crucial piece of evidence, the DNA report.

Arote submitted that the appellant is falsely implicated and the prosecution has failed to establish the link between the DNA report and the blood samples that were collected, therefore, since the DNA report was the only document on which, the conviction was based, in
view of the missing link, so the prosecution’s claim that the appellant has committed that offence beyond reasonable doubt cannot be established.

He submitted that the victim had denied having given any supplementary statement to the police implicating the Appellant. He submitted that considering the very weak nature of the evidence, the appellant be acquitted.

Justice Kotwal noted that the victim herself had turned hostile and had not supported the prosecution case. The police had never recorded that statement of the girl before the Magistrate which is considered more important evidence than a statement before the police.

Further Justice Kotwal noted that the prosecution could not state that there was no possibility of tampering or mixing up of four samples. “In that context, in my opinion, the prosecution has miserably failed,” opined Justice Kotwal.

Looking deeper into the technical issues involved the court noted that the trial court proceedings had nothing to show as to who had produced the DNA report in court. Justice Kotwal noted, “The defence had not admitted that particular report by giving no objection on the report. This is the most crucial piece of evidence and it is extremely doubtful how it was brought on record.”

Justice Kotwal also noted that the prosecution has also failed to prove how the four samples of four suspects were collected, what precautions were taken to keep them separate, whether separate numbers were given and how they had reached the laboratory for further examination.

“The entire evidence in that behalf is completely missing. Therefore, there is a strong possibility that the samples of these four suspects could have got mixed up at some stage,” stated Justice Kotwal.

The bench added, “In such a serious case, it was the duty of the prosecution to point out that there was no possibility of deliberate or inadvertent tampering of the blood samples which were sent for DNA testing.”

The bench thus concluded that the prosecution had miserably failed and in such a case, the benefit of the doubt must go to the appellant.

Published By:

Sudeep Lavania

Published On:

Jul 10, 2024

Source link

Leave a comment