Victim's Statement Under Section 164 CrPC Admissible for Corroboration: Uttarakhand High Court

Uttarakhand HC rules victim's statement under Section 164 CrPC admissible for corroboration, acquits appellant in Monu v. State of Uttarakhand case. Lack of evidence on victim's age and consent pivotal in overturning conviction.

The Uttarakhand High Court recently made a significant ruling regarding the use of statements made by victims in legal proceedings. In a criminal appeal case titled Monu v. State of Uttarakhand, the court addressed the admissibility of statements recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) as evidence.

The case involved an appeal filed by the accused challenging a judgment from the Sessions Court. The appellant had been convicted under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and The Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act). The appellant argued that the victim's statement, recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC, should not have been considered as evidence against him.

Justice Ravindra Maithani, presiding over a Single Bench, emphasized the importance of the victim's statement recorded under Section 164. The court noted that such statements could be used not only for contradiction but also for corroboration. Quoting a precedent set in the case of R. Shaji v. State of Kerala (2013), the court reaffirmed that statements under Section 164 could serve as both corroborative and contradictory evidence.

In this specific case, the court highlighted that the victim had voluntarily left her home and joined the appellant. There was no evidence to prove that the appellant had forcibly taken her. Additionally, the prosecution failed to establish the victim's age at the time of the incident.

The court observed that there was a lack of evidence regarding the victim's age, as neither the victim nor her family members could provide substantial information. Medical examination records indicated that the victim claimed to be 18-19 years old at the time of examination, contradicting the prosecution's claim that she was a minor.

The victim's statement under Section 164 of the CrPC revealed that she had willingly entered into a relationship with the appellant and accompanied him to various places. The court concluded that the victim was not kidnapped and was not a minor at the time of the incident.

Consequently, the court found that the prosecution had failed to prove the charges against the appellant beyond a reasonable doubt. It determined that the appellant should be acquitted of the charges, as there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction.

In its final judgment, the Uttarakhand High Court allowed the appeal, overturned the previous judgment, and acquitted the appellant, Monu.