Presumption under Section 29 POCSO Act does not discharge prosecution of duty to prove case: Bombay High Court

The appellants sought to quash the conviction, contending that the prosecution evidence did not inspire confidence and that the silence on the survivor’s part for two years spoke volumes.

However, the Court held that delay in lodging of the FIR may not be adverse to the prosecution, because in a case of rape, it is not very easy for a girl to approach the police station and lodge a report.

“The victim has to necessarily give a thought to social repercussions of lodging of FIR in a rape case as well as the effect on the reputation and social status of the family. It becomes all the more difficult when the accused and the victim are relatives. A victim cannot therefore be blamed for lodging of the FIR at a belated stage. Hence, in the present case, delay in lodging FIR by itself does not strike the prosecution case,” the judgment stated.

The Court also observed that there were several infirmities in the investigation.

“The investigating officer had not recorded statement of any of the doctors, had not investigated the medicinal pills that was administered to the victim nor the sonographic test on record. From the materials on record and the evidence adduced by the prosecution and the submissions made by the Counsel on both sides, this court is of the considered view that there are lacunas in the investigation which go to the root of the matter, due to which the court cannot simplicitor avert to section 29 of the POCSO Act,” the Bench held.

Source: Barandbench