Odisha HC exonerates man from rape charge after 30 years

The Orissa High Court has exonerated a man who was convicted of rape and sexual assault charges more than 30 years ago.

The incident had taken place in Odisha’s Balangir district on the night of October 3, 1989 when one Shatrughna Nag was found in a compromising position with a girl at the latter’s house. The girl’s family members thrashed Nag and filed a complaint at the Titlagarh police Station.

The man faced trial for offences punishable under Sections 376/511, 354 and 457 of the IPC. In March 1990, the trial court found him guilty and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine of ₹100 under Section 376/511 of the IPC. He was also convicted under other charges. The man, however, secured bail and was released from jail two months later.

The rape convict appealed against the judgment in the Orissa High Court in 1990. As per the judgment delivered on Friday by Justice S. K. Sahoo, circumstances indicated that the girl was a consenting party.

“After having been caught red-handed with the convict in a compromising position inside her bed room in the night, the victim tried to put the entire blame upon the convict as the perpetrator of the crime to save her own skin before her family members as well as in her society,” says the judgment.

Justice Sahoo set aside the conviction of the appellant under Sections 376/511, 354 and 457 of the IPC.

The High Court, however, found Nag guilty on charges of trespassing (Section 448 of the IPC) to the girl’s house. The maximum substantive sentence provided for offence under Section 448 is one year.

Since he had already served seven months of imprisonment during trial and had to go through mental trauma for facing the case over three decades, the High Court did not award further imprisonment.

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