Thursday, September 1, 2016

No conviction on moral ground, evidence required in rape cases: Gujarat High Court

Gujarat high court has acquitted two youths in a gangrape case after terming the lower court's decision to hand down seven-year jail term to them as "moral conviction".

The high court recorded acquittal on the ground that conviction of people in rape cases should not be on moral grounds, but only on basis of evidence.

Justice GB Shah has reversed the Rajpipla trial court's conviction because there was no substantive piece of evidence forthcoming on record and the accused were held guilty merely on basis of the Test Identification (TI) parade, which could have been the corroborative piece of evidence at the most.
According to case details, a minor girl was allegedly gangraped by five youths after they abducted her from a nearby wedding party at Rajpipla in May last year. After the complaint, Mukesh Vasava and Amarsing Vasava were nabbed and put to trial on charges of rape and abetment. They were also slapped with charges under provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO).

During the trial, the minor victim, her friends and parents turned hostile. Out of 16 witnesses, the executive magistrate before whom the TI Parade was conducted, a doctor and Investigating Officer supported prosecution's case.
There was no other direct or medical evidence that prosecution could place before the court. The court, however, held the duo guilty and sentenced them to seven-year jail term in March.

When they challenged their conviction, the high court heard the case and came to conclusion that in absence of any concrete material coming on record, holding the accused guilty on basis of TI parade is nothing but "moral conviction", which cannot take place of legal conviction. The HC said, "When substantive piece of evidence is not supporting the case, TI parade which is corroborative piece of evidence, cannot take place of substantive evidence."

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