In a verdict set to generate debate on the element of “consent”, the Delhi High Court has overturned conviction of a man in a rape and murder case, saying even if the sexual intercourse with the 65-year-old woman was forceful, it was “not forcible and contrary to the wishes and consent of the deceased”.
A Division Bench of the High Court said in its judgment delivered this past week that though the forceful penetration was evident from the injuries on her private parts, there was no other injury mark on the body of the deceased or on the man, who challenged his conviction in the Court, to show that there was no protest by the woman.
The Bench, comprising Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Mukta Gupta, said it was evident from the medico-legal examination of appellant Achey Lal and post-mortem of the deceased that both of them had consumed alcohol.
“...the deceased was around 65-70 years, thus beyond the age of menopause. We find force in the contention of the learned counsel for the appellant that even if the sexual intercourse was forceful, it was not forcible,” said the Court in its six-page judgment.
The trial court had awarded life term to Achey Lal on charges of raping the woman while he was in an inebriated state, resulting in her death. Allowing his appeal, the High Court said the post-mortem report had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the woman too had consumed alcohol before she was subjected to sexual intercourse.
The Court ruled that the appellant could not be held guilty for offence under Section 302 (murder) of Indian Penal code as he “neither had any intention nor knowledge” that such a forceful act of sexual intercourse would cause the death of the woman. Consequently, he was acquitted of the murder charges as well.
The trial court had in 2011 awarded life imprisonment to Achey Lal and imposed a fine of Rs.10,000 on him, while holding that he had committed rape of a woman older than his age whom he used to call his mother.
According to the prosecution’s arguments, the woman was working as a domestic help in several houses in Majnu Ka Tila locality in North Delhi. When she was found dead at her residence in December 2010, an empty bottle of liquor was found near her body. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/forceful-sex-is-not-rape-hc/article6565078.ece