Author: Rachna Gautam, student at M.M.H College, Ghaziabad.
Date of Judgement: 20 July 2020.
Case number: Crl.A(J)No.33/2019
Appellant : Alamin Miah
Respondent: State of Tripura
Benches: S.Talapatra, S.G.Chattopadhyay
Statutes Involved: Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code.
Original Copy: N/A
Issues in Question:
- Whether the testimony of witnesses not related to the victim is necessary to gain the confidence of courts in legal proofs.
- Whether the accused is described as an assailant to the medical officer exactly after the incident is a necessary event to corroborate the legal proofs and for the establishment of conviction.
Background of Case:
- This is an appeal to challenge the judgment (Case number- ST 21 (GT/U) of 2018 Crl.A(J)No.33/2019) passed by learned Session Judges of Gomati District Court, Udaipur on 04.04.2019 awarding the appellant sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life and a fine of One Lakh Rupee for an offense punishable under Section 326- A IPC and rigorous imprisonment of three months and a fine of 5,000 Rupees for the offense punishable under Section 498-A.
- On 14th January 2018 Akash Miah lodged a file in police Station of Gomti district that victim -Momita, her daughter got married to the appeallant 10 months ago and after the marriage appealant started to torture and pressurize victim to take 10,000 rupees through dowry from her faather.
- And five months ago, victim returned to her fathers house in order to get rid of his torture. Appellant made many attempts to reunite but the victim refused.
- On 13 January 2019 around 7O’ Clock in the evening when Victim went to see her grandmother ailing from illness, the appellant came there and called the victim out and then threw acid on her at the roadside.
- Then Victim was taken to a nearby hospital where she was treated by a medical officer who affirmed that the injury is the third degree acid burn covering 20% of the damage to body there is a second degree burning on face which has caused eye- sight loss of an eye and face is damaged to such an extent that victim cannot go out without covering her face and there is a patchy burn on hand, neck, ears and shoulder.
- On 25. 01.2019 the investigating officer visited the hospital and recorded the statement of father and the victim and recorded the opinions of the medical officer..
- On 25.06.2019 When investigating officerwent to arrest the appellant, appellant attempted to suicide by consuming the insecticide thus he was also admitted to a hospital and finally got arrested on 01.07.2019
- On 12.07.2019 after Momita’s discharge from hospital, she was taken to first class magistrate who recorded her statement and a chargesheet was submitted by the magistrate in regard to offenses defined under section 326-A and 498-A of IPC.
- The learned session judges after recording all the evidence and recording statement of appellant awarded him aforesaid punishment.
- It is argued on behalf of appellant that the incident took place on roadside where could be the presence of people not related to victim but prosecution did not take the testimony of such independent witnesses and stayed restricted to victim and victim relatives who already hold grudges against appellant thus no confidence can be put in such evidences.
- It is argued on behalf of appellant that the victim did not take the name of the assailant during her treatment which she must have taken, that medical proofs are not sufficient to corroborate the oral evidence and questioned the prosecution case.
- It is argued that enough and sufficient proofs are not present in order to sustain the charges under section 498-A.
- It is decided that the incisive nature of section -498-A does not absolve prosecution of the duty to provide cogent and efficacious proofs. Due to lack of enough evidence to corroborate the claim.The Conviction under 498-A is set aside.
- All the arguments made by appellant were duly rejected as there was testimony of an eye-witness who had heard the victim crying the name of appellant as assailant during the incident. Eye-witness was a relative of the victim but this fact is not enough to reject the statement made by her.
- There was enough medical evidence and legal proof to hold the conviction of appellant under the offence described in section 326-A.
- It was decided that punishment awarded by district court has not taken factors such as economic conditions, background, situation around the defendant and the fact that appellant tried to reunite into consideration that can have a mitigating effect on punishment.
- It was decided that Appellant will be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and fine of Rs 25,000 in failure to pay the fine; there will be rigorous imprisonment for three months.
- This case primarily covers two heinous offences under gender-related crimes. First is acid attack and another is Cruelty against crime. Law through the legislation and precedents plays an important role in shaping and reforming the society. Thus it is very important to take into consideration the complexities and challenges it offers for any woman in order to fulfill the requirements of the judicial system in order to achieve justice while delivering any Judgement.
- This case failed in recognising that to some extent. It has been a very well known fact that the Social mobility of women is quite restrictive due to the presence of multi dimensional Patriarchy. Because of which most of the time women lack the knowledge of their rights and if known are not economically, socially and psychologically strong to fight for them.
- This case recognises the private nature of Cruelty against women but not taken any step in order to provide a structural Development and procedural changes to ease the recognition of Cruelty against women and didn’t mention in what ways the very reason of absence of any material evidence can be cured.
- In this particular case, a sort of liberal approach is taken towards the culprit. It cannot be denied that acid attack is one of the very heinous crimes that deteriorates life to such an extent that even death looks beautiful. According to me, the sentencing of minimum years of imprisonment is not what can be justified here even taking the economical, social and other conditions around the culprit. It could be definitely more than that.
- The major role of punishment is to provide the deterrent to the society from its occurrence, awarding the minimum death sentence cannot fulfill this purpose and one cannot understand the gravity of this crime.