Delhi HC sets aside life imprisonment in gang rape case, criticises police investigation

New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Monday overturned a trial court’s decision to sentence four men to life imprisonment for the alleged gang rape of a woman, citing deficiencies in the police investigation and inconsistencies in the prosecutrix’s statements.

A division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Manoj Jain criticised the Delhi Police for its flawed investigation, and the trial court for relying on the initial statement of the prosecutrix, which was later retracted during the trial.

The high court noted that the prosecutrix had disowned her initial statement shortly after making it, stating that she had left home voluntarily.

This crucial detail, coupled with the absence of concrete evidence linking the accused to the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault, raised doubts about the prosecution’s case.

The court condemned the lapses in the police investigation, noting the failure to collect vital evidence such as the Call Detail Records (CDR) of the prosecutrix’s mobile phone, which could have corroborated her location at the time of the incident. Moreover, the court criticised the absence of efforts to obtain DNA evidence from the accused under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Despite the detection of semen on the victim’s clothing and its match with the accused’s DNA profile, the court cautioned against automatically assuming sexual assault, citing the possibility of consensual physical relations.

Examining inconsistencies in the testimony of the prosecutrix’s parents and the absence of corroborating evidence, the court concluded that the prosecution had failed to establish a solid case against the accused. Consequently, the court acquitted all four accused individuals of the charges.



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