HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad High Court has made it clear that delay in lodging an FIR cannot be a reason to quash proceedings in a case where there is prima facie evidence.
Justice U Durga Prasad Rao made these observations on a petition filed by one Devender, in a criminal case, seeking to quash proceedings pending before the Sessions Judge in Warangal.
As per the prosecution, the victim - a minor girl - and accused number one and two were residents of the same locality in a village in Warangal district. The girl was an intermediate student as were both the accused. In fact, the prime accused was her distant relative too.
One day, the girl’s father was admitted to a hospital at Parkal for a leg surgery and her mother was also with him for assistance. The following day, the girl’s brother took meals to his parents leaving her alone at home. At that time, both the accused allegedly went to her house on the pretext of borrowing some notebooks and raped her. They stuffed her mouth with a cloth and threatened her with dire consequences if she revealed their heinous act.
Later, the shocked victim consumed a pesticide and informed her neighbours of the rape. They rushed her to a private nursing home for treatment. Later, she was shifted to a hospital in Hanamkonda where she was treated.
On the complaint of her father, the police investigated and filed a chargesheet against both the accused. Since A1 is a juvenile in conflict with law, a separate charge-sheet was filed against him before the Juvenile Magistrate-cum-IV Additional JFCM, Warangal.
After hearing the arguments, the judge said evidently, there was a delay of two days between the date of incident and lodging of FIR. “However, in a case of this nature, the delay is understandable... unless strong material is placed by the defence to show that the delay is used to manipulate events and implicate innocents,” he observed. Since no such strong ground is shown, delay can’t be taken as a reason to quash the proceedings, he ruled.
With regard to the argument of non-detection of semen, the judge opined that these contentions can best serve as a point of defence at the time of trial.