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State Of Punjab v/s Gurmit Singh

It is a judgment that deals with rape committed 11 years back before 2020, and states whether corroborative evidence is an essential part of legal credence as expressed in Section 8 of the Indian Evidence Act. This Act was authorized in 1872 to sift through the ambiguities during the time spent securing proof and attempted to discover measures to lay the foundation for enactment adequately.

The case is broadly recognized and analyzed by the evidence act 1872 and section 118 and the IPC sections 363, 366, 368 and 376. This case highlights the important differences regarding the required evidence and credibility that need to be provided for rape victims. They carry a heavy burden when they try to defend the accused with rape charges and should therefore, this Court, aware of its responsibility explain that the courts often make a mistake by constantly asking too many questions about the incident to the victim.

The fact that she has seen that this is often used to demean the victim and humiliate her is a joy in judgment, and it serves as a steppingstone to the fight for women's rights. Therefore, this explains the importance and well-being of the rape victim.

Introduction
The case is an appeal in the Supreme Court of India under Section 14 of the Terrorist Affected Areas (special courts) Act,1984[1].

In this case, the respondents are acquitted of rape and the charge of abduction of a minor girl. In this appeal, the corroboration of the prosecutrix’ statement was questioned, and a new light is elucidated in the judgement through the lack of sensitivity of the trial court of India.

Background Of Study Crime Against Women

Over the past few decades, crime rates have skyrocketed. This is the reason why Parliament has passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1983 (Act 43 of 1983) to make the laws stronger and the rape case more real. Subsequently, sections 375 and 376 Amendment Act and provided that several provisions were made to punish those who abused or abused their women even if they were under their care or care.

The law of evidence also played an important role in this amendment as it was complied with and was used to strengthen the evidence and prove the claims. Section 114A was also added to the Evidence Act to give a clear idea of ​​the absence of a permit for certain prosecutions for rape.

To facilitate, amendment, Section 327 of the Criminal Procedure Code (which deals with the right to an accused in an open trial) was also amended by the addition of Sections 2 and 3 after the replacement of the old section numbers as Subsections (1). Sections 2 and 3 of Section 327 Cr. P.C.

Brief Facts Of The Case
The prosecutrix was a young girl under the age of 16 who was in 10th grade at the relevant time. On 30th March 1984, she was on his way to her maternal uncle’s house, and when she had traveled about [100 km]. from the school, a car driven by a Sikh youth aged 20/25 years came from behind.

The car contained all the suspects - Gurmit Singh, Jagjit Singh Bawa, and Ranjit Singh (the accused) were siting. A car stopped near her and Ranjit Singh got out of the car and grabbed the prosecutor and put her inside the car. Jagjit Singh allegedly put his hand over the victim's mouth while Gurmit Singh threatened the prosecutor with death and drove her to the tube well owned by Ranjit Singh's. The driver then left the prosecutor after leaving them when the prosecutor was forced to drink alcohol.

Gurmit Singh stripped her she was made a lie on a cot in the kotha against the outside. He then raped her after threatening to kill her again. Two other suspects then raped her and subjected her to sexual intercourse once again during the night[1].

The next morning the car arrived at the tube well and the three accused made her sit in that car and left her near the boy’s high school, Pakhowal near the place where she was abducted.

Her father contacted the Sarpanch Joginder Singh of the village and a panchayat was later convened where it tried to affect a compromise.

No relief was given and the prosecutrix along with her father proceeded to file a complaint with the police station where she was taken to a primary health center in or medical examination She was medically examined by lady doctor Dr. Sukhwinder Kaurwho found that the hymen of the prosecutrix was lacerated with radiate tears, swollen and painful. Her pubic hair was also found mated. According to her intercourse with the prosecutrix could be “one of the reasons for laceration which found in her hymen”.

After the prosecutor took her test, she told the whole story to her mother, (Dr. Gurdev Kaur, and her father Trilok Singh were not in the house at the time.) However, when she returned in the evening, she told the story to her husband.

He also provided police with a sample containing prosecutrix salwar and 5 slides of female genital smears and one closed vial containing prosecutrix pubic hair as evidence under The Evidence Act.

When the defendant was found the doctor indicated that both suspects were ready to have sex and the sealed parcels containing slides of private smears, public hair, and the prosecutor's salwar, were sent to a chemical examiner. A chemical inspector's report revealed that sperm were found on the virginal smear slides although no spermatozoa[2] were found in the public hair or in the prosecutor's salwar. Upon completion of the investigation, respondents were challenged and charged under sections 363, 366, 368, and 376 IPC.

The trial court carelessly acquitted the accused which is under challenge here.

Issues Of The Case
  1. Whether the assertion of the prosecutrix must be certified further, or was she an honest witness under Section 118 and 114 of Evidence Act, 1872
  2. Whether the clinical assessment as proof was significant to the declaration of the prosecutrix?
  3. Whether the case was one of vengeance due to the prior hostility that emerged between the father of the prosecutrix and respondent?
  4. Whether the judgement of the preliminary Court was reasonable and well-substantiated considering all the evidence presented?
A Bench comprising 2 judges analyzed the issues as mentioned above in the light of the opponent disputes.

Arguments From The Appellant Side
Appellant argued that the prosecutor was a minor under the age of 16, was in 10th class and was abducted and assaulted. The three were kidnapped by a blue ambassador and threatened with his life and then twice attacked at the instigation of the three convicted Ranjit, Gurmit Singh and Bawa. The prosecutor recounted the entire incident to her mother, and her father, Trilok Singh, contacted the sarpanch who did not find relief from the victim, which led to a police complaint.

She had been severely examined by a female doctor who had given the prosecutor's salwar and five slides of vaginal smears and one closed pial with prosecutrix pubic hair which was found to be weighed and the prosecutor's hymn was a lacerated with fine radiate tears swollen and painful. [ Dr. B.L. Bansal re-examined the three suspects on the same day after they were presented, and the doctor suggested they were deemed fit for sexual intercourse.

A chemical inspector's report indicated that sperm were found on the sides of the prosecutor's genitals. The female specialist had fixed the speculum of the vagina by taking swabs on the back of the vaginal fornix of the prosecutrix to prepare the slides and as the width of the speculum was around two fingers the chances that the prosecutor had arranged sex would not be ruled out.[3]

The prosecutor testified that he was taken by bus to Pakhowal Adda on a meter road which could raise an alarm as it was being threatened and it was the investigator's job to find the driver as he passed from there. The panchayats of both villages have also been linked with a view to resolving the issue. The fact that she was a young girl and bound by the rules of the community and her family's reputation in the community would not be public and she would report the incident to any outsider who was the main basis for the prosecutor to go to the police.

Arguments From The Respondent Side
Respondents in their response their statements were recorded under section 313 Cr. The P.C where they spoke out in total denial of the allegations the prosecutors were facing. First Jagjit Singh pointed out that it was a false case, and he was forced into it because of hostility and the sarpanch of the Pakhowal city.

There were allegations that he had married a Canadian woman in the Gurudwara area that was not popular with the sarpanch and as a result, he had no friendship with her and was therefore imprisoned for his unfaithfulness. Gurmit Singh's respondent responded that he had been falsely impaled because of hostilities between his father and Trilok Singh, the father of the prosecutor. He said there was a civil case going on between the father and the prosecutor's father and their families were not on good terms.

Therefore, he was forced to be beaten by Trilok Singh for reasons of doubt that he may have made a few people arrest his daughter and nephew the next day and promised to beat Trilok Singh again. Ranjit Singh's respondent said he had been found guilty of misconduct but did not give reasons for his repression. Jagjit Singh nicknamed Bawa produced Kuldeep Singh and Amarjit Singh defending and providing proof that a copy of his passport and marriage certificate with a Canadian girl also provided photographic evidence of C&D evidence in his marriage to a Canadian girl. However, the other defendant did not have any evidence against him.

Legal Aspects
The case can be interpreted through the following provisos:
  • Section 118 of The Evidence Act 1872[1]:
    All persons shall be competent to testify unless the Court considers that they are prevented from understanding the question put to them, or from giving a rational answer to those questions, by tender years, extreme old age, disease, whether of body and mind or any other cause of the same kind.
     
  • 363 IPC[2]:
    Whoever abducts any individual from [India] or from legitimate guardianship, will be rebuffed with the detainment of one or the other portrayal for a term which may stretch out to seven years, and will likewise be obligated to fine.
     
  • 366 IPC[3]:
    Whoever kidnaps or forces a woman to manipulate her marriage, etc. shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of ten years and shall be liable to fine anyone who induces a woman to leave any place in order to be able to do so or to know that she is likely to be coerced or seduced into sexual intercourse with another male, shall be punished as mentioned above.
     
  • 368 IPC[4]:
    Wrongfully concealing or keeping in confinement, kidnapped or abducted person- Whoever, realizing that any individual has been captured or has been abducted, illegitimately covers or limits such individual, will be rebuffed in a similar way as though he had hijacked or kidnapped such individual with a similar goal or information, or for a similar reason as that with or for which he disguises or confines such individual in confinement.
     
  • 376 IPC[5]:
    Punishment for rape submits assault will be rebuffed with the detainment for a term which will not be under seven years however which might be forever or for a term which may reach out to ten years and will likewise be obligated to fine except if the women assaulted is his own wife and is not under twelve years old. In these cases, he will be rebuffed with the detainment for a term which may stretch out to two years or with fine or with both: Provided that the Court may, for satisfactory and uncommon motivations to be referenced in the judgment, force a sentence of detainment for a term of fewer than seven-year.

View Of The Court
The Supreme Court ruled that the disagreements raised by the original court failed to be sensitive to humanity after considering them all. Justice Anand, A.S. (J) and Ahmad Saghir S. (J) said that the reasons why the first court accepted the case were insufficient and considered the situation in which one of the weaker students was threatened and could not control it.

In view of the problems facing the Court, it turns out that the prosecutor was a credible witness and the Court held that the victim's testimony in such cases is important and unless there are necessary reasons to substantiate the statement. The Court will rule on the evidence alone as it is found to be reliable.

Case Law
Maharashtra v. Chandra Prakash Kewalchand Jain
Ahmad, J held that the victim was a criminal and that the evidence did not prove that the evidence was invalid. He or she is eligible under Section 118 of applicable law, and his or her evidence must be commuted to the extent of physical violence. If the Court considers this to be of paramount importance, then they may deal well with the prosecutor's evidence, and in terms of section 114, they may consider the evidence in the event of any doubt as to the validity of the statement. However, when he or she grows up, they can add to his or her testimony without falsely accusing the accused.

The Court looked into other issues and found that the medical examination had led to the full confirmation of the victim's evidence explaining the original court statement.[6]

Case Law
State of Gujarat v. Ramesh Chandra Ramabhai Panchal
Despite the stipulation as mentioned above, the two-finger test prompting the development of the clinical assessment with respect to assent permits the past sexual history of the victim to bias her declaration. The test itself is one of the most informal techniques for assessment utilized with regards to rape and has no scientific worth. Regardless of whether a survivor is acclimated to sex preceding the attack makes little difference to whether she agreed when the assault happened.

Area 155 of the Indian Evidence Act does not permit an assault casualty’s believability to be settled on the ground that she is “of for the most part immoral character.” and even the prosecutrix had been doubted and named as a young lady of ‘loose character” and ‘such sort of young lady’ by the trial court.

Ongoing controversy led the Court to declare that there was no evidence that there had been a dispute between the two parties as no father could commit such an immoral act against the dignity of his own daughter. The trial court ignored or distorted all the relevant evidence that led the high court to conclude that all the evidence was in favor of the prosecutor and that he was under the age of sixteen years as a result of his birth certificate and the testimony of his parents.[7]

Overview Of The Jugdement
The Court reproved keeping all proof into account that the prosecutrix was careful and the case was past sensible uncertainty for the respondents, so the Court rebuked them under infringement of area 363,366,368 and 376 of the Indian Penal code, 1860. As the wrongdoing occurred when the respondents were 21-24 years and maybe hitched after, under all the conceivable outcomes that were thought of under Section 376, IPC was condemned to five years of confinement and penalized by Rs.5000/- each with 1-year rigorous imprisonment for Section 363 of IPC as well.

However, were given no different sentences under Section 366/368 IPC and in default of non-payment of the penalty was further sentenced 1-year rigorous imprisonment under Section 376 IPC. The Court did not reward the family of the victim with any compensation as there was a penalty imposed with no scheme for compensation.

Conclusion
Justice is late Justice is denied, a line that has been ringing in the mind of the prosecutor (name withheld) for 8 long years. Not many 4 lakh unresolved cases have reached the media and have never been highlighted by millions who are not even registered due to the end of the legal system.

In the case of The State of Punjab vs Gurmit Singh & Ors. the victim, who was under 16 years of age at the start of the trial, had to put up with telling her side of the story in public, which could have hurt her as a minor, as soft as her, and irreparably damaged her. The high court knew that the lower courts had not handled the case properly and should have been more compassionate in dealing with the victim of a sexual crime.

They held that the rapist not only tarnished the victim's privacy but also inflicted serious damage to his or her psychological well-being, which was only reinforced by the Court where the victim's evidence could be considered as a cornerstone even if he or she could not prove it.

Bibliography:
  1. State of Maharashtra v. Chandra Prakash KewalchanjainMANU/SC/O122/1990:1990CriLJ889
  2. Women’s Forum v. Union of India MANU/SC/0519/1995: (1995)1 SCC14
  3. State of Gujarat v. Rameshchandra Ramabhai Panchal R/CRA/122/1996
End-Notes:
  1. The Evidence Act 1872, s 118
  2. Indian Penal Code, 1860, s 363
  3. Indian Penal Code, 1860, s 366
  4. Indian Penal Code, 1860, s 368
  5. Indian Penal Code, 1860, s 376
  6. Maharashtra v. Chandraprakash Kewalchand Jain MANU/SC/0I22/1990:1990CriLJ889
  7. HC rules: Rape Victim’s Two Finger Test is violative of her Right to Privacy hence Unconstitutional>https://www.latestlaws.com
Footer:
  1. www.lawtimesjournal.in
  2. Women’s forum v. union of India MANU/SC/0519: (1995)1SCC14.
  3. State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh www.indiankanoon.org
  4. Terrorist affected areas Act (special court), 1984, s 14- Which provides that an appeal is a matter of right of any judgement, sentence or order that is not an interlocutory order of a Special Court.
Written By: Ritu Tiwari - United World of School, Karnavati University

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