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CASE COMMENT: ABDUL V EMPEROR

FACTS OF THE CASE

In the said case, a girl named Mt. Buddo aged between 14-16 years reported a Case against four men under Section 354 of IPC[1]. The girl registered the case in a police station on 19th January 1931. However, the investigation done by the police didn’t satisfy Jagna, who is the father of the girl, and following this, he further reported the scenario to the Superintendent of Police. When the Superintendent of Police started the investigation, it was discovered that the girl use to assist these men in their household chores and they shared a friendly relationship. Furthermore, it was discovered that one day when she visited their house, they took her to a field of sugarcane and formed a sexual relationship with her. They all had sexual intercourse with her in that sugarcane field. Adding to this, it was also found that they all dressed her in Mahomedans clothes which they removed during that intercourse.

Jagna, who was the father of the girl also attempted to prove that those Mahomedans men tried to abduct his daughter and they all wanted to take his daughter from the village to Shimla, that too for getting the wrong done. However, when the investigation was going on, it was never proved that the girl left the village for even a short period and there was no evidence available to prove the claims of Jagna. When the trial began, the medical examination was conducted which proved that the girl was sexually active and she wasn’t a virgin however, the investigation related to this was never done and subsequently out the four men, two of them named Abdul Hasan and Abdul Karim was convicted under Section 366 of IPC. [2] Aggrieved by the decision, both convicted men moved to Allahabad High Court and questioned their conviction.

ISSUE RAISED BEFORE ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT
  1. The conviction of both men under Section 366 of IPC was questioned before the High Court. It was questioned whether their conviction is valid or not?
ARGUMENTS PRESENTED BY THE APPELLANTS
  1. Before the High Court, Appellants Abdul Karim and Abdul Hasan argued that although the medical reports and medical examinations proved that she was not a virgin and she was already sexually active, the investigation related to this that Has she lost her virginity now or was she always sexually active was never conducted properly.
  2. Adding to this, they also argued that the girl never admitted that there was some coercion and some violence had happened with her which could be meant that the girl herself submitted herself to all of these.
ARGUMENTS PRESENTED BY THE RESPONDENTS
  1. The Respondents argued before the High Court that during the investigation, in various instances, it was proved that the girl was spotted with these Mahomedans men.
  2. They also emphasized the point that it was earlier also proved that the girl accompanied those men to the sugarcane field and there she also exchanged her clothes and wore those Mahomedans clothes.

JUDGEMENT

After listening to both sides, the One-Judge Bench of Allahabad High Court stated that any man forming any type of sexual relationship with a girl and conducting the same intercourse in any field near his house is not guilty of any offense mentioned under Section 366 of IPC, if he is not intending to take her away with himself. However, a man forming a sexual relationship with a minor girl and conducting the same intercourse amounts to Rape only, even if the girl has given his consent.  Adding to this, Justice Pullan stated however they both were not charged with Rape, at times whenever it was questioned that did they committed the offense of rape, they always denied that.[3]

Considering all the facts, Justice Pullan in his Judgement mentioned that it was proved that a technical rape was conducted and committed, however no specific charge of this offense was made a law against wrongdoers for Rape which may be passed by this Court under the statements in the law of Section 237, Criminal Procedure Code.[4] In the end, Justice Pullan stated that both the convicted accused had been positioned to massive charge and that they’ve spent some days in jail and the offense does not call for heavy punishment and thus he altered the conviction from Section 366 of IPC to Section 376, I.P.C. Adding to this, he also sentenced them to plenty of rigorous imprisonment as they have already long gone and ordered them to pay the total sum of the fine.

RATIO DECIDENDI

While it is very important to verify whether the sexual intercourse has taken place, it is equally important to verify whether there was any intention or commission to take the girl child away from her lawful guardian. In the said case though the offense of rape was conducted, however, the allegation made by the father of the girl regarding the abduction was not proved. The girl was still living with her father who was her lawful guardian as her Gauna was not completed yet and also she never left the village. Although she changed her dress and wore some pretty clothes to please those men, she never went too far from her house to complete any chores of those men and thus there was no evidence to prove that those men wanted to abduct her and took her away from her lawful guardian.

CONCLUSION

In the Indian Culture, the position of girls has always been compared to the goddess and anyone trying to do any harm to them is termed as the wrongdoer. However, in many cases, we see that there are fake allegations that are made to defame the men and cause harm to their reputations. [5]In this case, similarly, a case related to the offense was Rape was registered however, after proper investigations and trials it was found that the Rape was never committed, instead of that consensual sex was done. Earlier, the Court convicted both men however, when the matter was brought before the High court, the High Court considered all the facts, shreds of evidence, and witness correctly and subsidies the charges of the convicted- petitioners.

Author(s) Name: Alka Verma (Shankarrao Chavan Law College, Pune)

References:

[1] Indian Penal Code, 1860, s 354

[2] Indian Penal Code, 1860, s 366

[3] Aditi Bharti, ‘Abdul v Emperor’ ( Law Insider 24 December 2021)  <https://www.lawinsider.in/judgment/abdul-vs-emperor> accessed 17 February 2022

[4] Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, s 237

[5]Aditi Bharti, ‘Abdul v Emperor’ ( Law Insider 24 December 2021) <https://www.lawinsider.in/judgment/abdul-vs-emperor> accessed 17 February 2022