The State Of Maharashtra vs Bandu @ Daulat on 24 October, 2017

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CRL. APPEAL @ SLP(CRL.)NO.2172 OF 2014

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1820 of 2017
(Arising out of SLP(Crl.)No.2172 of 2014)

THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA Appellant(s)

VERSUS

BANDU @ DAULAT Respondent(s)

ORDER

1. Leave granted. We have heard learned counsel for the

parties and perused the record.

2. The respondent was tried and convicted under Section

376 I.P.C. by the trial court for the alleged offence of rape

committed on 29th June, 2008 but has been acquitted by the

High Court.

3. The victim is deaf and dumb and mentally challenged to

some extent. Main evidence on record is of PW-1, Asha

Ramratan Bangar @ Asha Panchu Dhurve, the mother of the

victim. She lodged FIR on the next day i.e. 30 th June, 2008 to
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
MAHABIR SINGH
Date: 2017.10.28
12:31:19 IST
the effect that the accused was the landlord of the house in
Reason:

which they were living. The victim was lured away by the

accused by offering some sweet meat and was taken to the
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CRL. APPEAL @ SLP(CRL.)NO.2172 OF 2014

market. She did not return home and it was at 9.30 p.m. in the

night that two boys brought her home. The victim explained to

her mother by gesture as to what happened. On this version,

FIR was registered and investigation was carried out. Medical

examination of the victim confirmed the commission of rape.

The age of the victim at the time of the commission of the

offence was about 14 years.

4. The High Court held that since the victim herself was not

examined, the factum of rape and involvement of the accused

could not be held to have been proved. This is the basis of the

order of the High Court.

5. Mr. Nishant R. Katneshwarkar, learned counsel for the

State, submitted that even though the victim may be the best

witness to establish the charge of rape, having regard to the

fact that the victim in the present case was deaf and dumb and

mentally retarded, even in absence of her being examined as a

witness, there was sufficient evidence warranting conviction of

the accused.

6. Though respondent was served, he has not put in

appearance in this Court. We requested Ms. Shirin Khajuria,

Advocate, to assist the Court as Amicus. Accordingly Ms.

Khajuria assisted the Court after thorough preparation. We
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CRL. APPEAL @ SLP(CRL.)NO.2172 OF 2014

record our appreciation for Ms. Khajuria for painstaking

assistance.

7. The evidence of the mother of the victim clearly shows

that it was the respondent-accused who took away the victim.

The victim and the accused were seen together by PW-2,

Gajanan Marutrao Sonule on the date of commission of offence.

The victim immediately after the occurrence narrated the same

to her mother as to what happened as reflected in the FIR and

the version of the PW-1. Rape has been confirmed by medical

evidence. Identity of accused is not in dispute. In these

circumstances the trial court having convicted the respondent,

the High Court was not justified in setting aside the conviction.

8. Accordingly, we restore conviction of the respondent

under Section 376 IPC and sentence him to undergo rigorous

imprisonment for seven years. He may be taken into custody

to serve out the remaining sentence.

9. The appeal is accordingly allowed.

10. Before parting with this order we may deal with the

suggestion of learned amicus that there should be special

centres for examination of vulnerable witnesses in criminal

cases in the interest of conducive environment in Court so as to

encourage a vulnerable victim to make a statement. Such
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CRL. APPEAL @ SLP(CRL.)NO.2172 OF 2014

centres ought to be set up with all necessary safeguards. Our

attention has been drawn to guidelines issued by the Delhi

High Court for recording evidence of vulnerable witnesses in

criminal matters and also the fact that four special centres

have been set up at Delhi for the purpose.

11. We find merit in the above suggestion. In Sakshi v.

Union of India and Ors (2004) 5 SCC 518 this Court, after

due consideration of the above issue, issued following

directions:

“(1) The provisions of sub-section (2) of Section 327
Cr.PC shall, in addition to the offences mentioned in
the sub-section, also apply in inquiry or trial of
offences under Sections 354 and 377 IPC.

(2) In holding trial of child sex abuse or rape:

(i) a screen or some such arrangements may
be made where the victim or witnesses (who
may be equally vulnerable like the victim) do
not see the body or face of the accused;

(ii) the questions put in cross-examination on
behalf of the accused, insofar as they relate
directly to the incident, should be given in
writing to the presiding officer of the court
who may put them to the victim or witnesses
in a language which is clear and is not
embarrassing;

(iii) the victim of child abuse or rape, while
giving testimony in court, should be allowed
sufficient breaks as and when required.

These directions are in addition to those given in
State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh (1996) 2 SCC

384.”
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CRL. APPEAL @ SLP(CRL.)NO.2172 OF 2014

12. The directions of Delhi High Court and setting up of

special centres for vulnerable witnesses as noted above are

consistent with the decision of this Court and supplement the

same. We are of the view that all High Courts can adopt such

guidelines if the same have not yet been adopted with such

modifications as may be deemed necessary. Setting up of one

centre for vulnerable witnesses may be perhaps required

almost in every district in the country. All the High Courts may

take appropriate steps in this direction in due course in phases.

At least two such centres in the jurisdiction of each High Court

may be set up within three months from today. Thereafter,

more such centres may be set up as per decision of the High

Courts.

A copy of this order be sent to all the High Courts for

necessary action.

……………………………..J.

(ADARSH KUMAR GOEL)

…………………………..J.
(UDAY UMESH LALIT)

New Delhi,
October 24, 2017.

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