Srinagar- Observing that it would be highly “dangerous and hazardous” to hold an accused guilty on basis of “weak, shaky and unacceptable evidence”, the High court of J&K and Ladakh on Thursday acquitted a person convicted on the charges of rape and sentenced to 20 years in jail by a trial court in Shopian last year in a case registered in 2015.
In October last year, Principal Sessions Judge Shopian had held Mohammad Maqbool Ganai guilty for commission of offences in FIR (No. 179/2015) of Police Station Shopian under Sections 376(2)(f)/342/506 RPC and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment of 20 years and fine of Rs Ten Lac under Section 376(f) RPC, and one year and 2 years imprisonments under Sections 342 & 506 RPC respectively.
In his appeal, Ganie submitted that while writing judgment the trial court did not translate the complete version of prosecution witnesses and only adopted “pick and choose” method in appreciating the prosecution evidence with “conceived notion to punish the appellant (Ganie)”.
“Glaring contradictions and inconsistencies have emerged in the depositions of prosecutrix and other prosecution witnesses…. Medical evidence of PW-16 Dr. Waseem Rasool has totally exonerated the appellant from commission of act of rape,” a division bench of Justice Atul Sreedharanand Justice Mohan Lal said.
On merits, the court said it find that the prosecution case has been found wanting, “as no cogent, conclusive and creditworthy evidence has been led by the prosecution to prove the guilt of appellant/convict.”
“On proper assessment, evaluation and estimation of the evidence adduced by the prosecution, we find that the evidence appears to be weak, fragile, lacking in credibility, does not prove connecting link between the accused and commission of offences,” the court said, adding, “It would be highly dangerous and hazardous to hold the appellant/convict guilty of offences alleged against him on the basis of weak, shaky and unacceptable evidence.”
The court subsequently allowed the appeal and resultantly, set aside the judgment dated 10.10.2022 and order of sentence dated 17.10.2022 rendered by the Court of Principal Sessions Judge Shopian.
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