Slamming the trial court for its “erroneous approach”, the HC lamented the “serious miscarriage of justice” while acquitting the man accused of rape by his minor daughter in January 1996. The man spent 10 years in jail and lived 22 years with the taint of having raped his daughter. He died in February this year.
The HC noted that the accused “had been crying foul from day one” and had alleged that a boy had abducted and seduced his daughter, who was found to be pregnant. But the investigating agency and the trial court ignored his claim.
The father had demanded a DNA test of the girl’s foetus which wasn’t carried out.
“The investigation was clearly one-sided. At this distance in time, this court can only deplore the inaction of all concerned. There are many facts and circumstances which have been glossed over by the trial court but which render the prosecutrix’s account wholly improbable and unreliable,” the court said.
Court picked easy solutions in convicting father of rape: HC
Additionally, this court is of the view that neither the investigating agency nor the trial court were fair to the appellant at any stage of the process, this also vitiated the result of the probe and the trial,” the HC said in its judgment acquitting the man, who died in February. His wife had continued with the appeal.
The HC said the prosecution and the trial court picked “easy solutions” and the need for a deeper probe, as demanded by the man right from the start, was given a go-by.
“The defence evidence, particularly those of close family members was discarded. It is sad to note that the trial judge blindly accepted the prosecution story without going into the aspects which render it highly improbable, virtually impossible.
“The erroneous approach of the trial court has led to serious miscarriage of justice in the case unreasonably holding the biological father of raping his own daughter in the teeth of loaded circumstances showing her to be of wayward ways and possibly in liaison with an acquaintance,” it said. It noted that the kidnapping FIR lodged by the father, after the then 16-year-old girl went missing, was closed without probe after she lodged a complaint in 1996 that he had been raping her since 1991.
Referring to the facts narrated by the girl, HC pointed out “there was no inhibition” on the girl to report the matter and since, according to her, the rape began from 1991, nothing stopped her from communicating it to her mother, her siblings or others.
On the aspect of no DNA test being carried out by the police, HC was surprised that “the investigating agency and the prosecution appeared to have taken the stand that there was no need for it as from their perspective, it was an open and shut case, there being no reason why the daughter would accuse the father of such acts”. According to the girl’s complaint, her father, who was an electrician in the Military Engineer Services, had first raped her in 1991 when they were living in Udhampur and her mother had gone to her brother-inlaw’s funeral.
Her version was opposed by her father and mother as well as her elder brother and sister, who had claimed that she was poor in studies, was of wayward nature with several complaints being received against her.