Name of the Case
Vikram Singh @ Vicky Singh v. State of NCT of Delhi
Justice S.P Garg and Justice C.Hari Shankar
Delhi High Court delivers a very interesting judgment in which the high court quashed a trial court’s order declaring two men guilty of raping a minor girl but instructed both of them to pay compensation for maintenance of a child born to prosecutrix.
Facts of the case
Division Bench of the High Court was listening to an appeal filed by two prisoners who challenged a judgment passed by Additional Session’s Judge at the beginning of the year 2013 by the. Additional Session’s Judge had convicted them for repeatedly raping a 13-year old girl for over a period of 4 to 5 months. Crime came to light only when it was discovered that the victim was pregnant.
The victim received proper medical attention after seven months of pregnancy. She gave birth to a boy in March 2012. The child is now in a private orphanage in Haryana.
The decision of the case
Division Bench after examining all the shreds of evidence and arguments advanced by both the sides observed that the victim had given conflicting and divergent versions at different stages of the investigation. She did not tell her parents or the police about her ordeal at any stage. She continued to have physical relation with appellant and visited their office whenever called without a hitch and it was further observed that no injuries were found on her body or private parts to indicate forced sexual intercourse. None of the evidence furnished could prove the fact that she was below 16 years of age at the time of the crime. All this led the court to come to the conclusion that she was a consenting party throughout the incident.
Court also rejected the application of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012, noting that alleged crime happened before the Act came in force. The court thereafter allowed the appeal and set aside the conviction and sentence awarded to the appellants saying
Since the victim was more than 16 years of age at the time of commission of the offence and physical relations (if any) were with her consent, the appellants cannot be held guilty for commission of offence punishable under Section 376 IPC and the finding of the Trial Court on that score cannot be sustained and are set aside.
Moreover, Court also observed that DNA report confirmed that child belonged to the Tejinder Singh and ordered Vikram Singh and Tejinder Singh to pay 5 lakh and 8 lakh rupees respectively to the victim as compensation justifying the same on the following logic.
Since the victim who was below 18 years on the date of the incident was exploited and physical relations were established by the appellants who were major and knew the consequences of their acts whereby the poor girl became pregnant and delivered the child she is entitled to compensation for the maintenance of the child.
Learning of the case
From this case, we learn that child born to a prosecutrix even from rape is entitled to compensation for maintenance even if rape charges are dropped.