The trial of Nirbhaya’s case is now over and the five accused were convicted and awarded highest form of punishment as per the law. But how the four accused before the Saket court defended their case. Although I personally feel that there should be no defense to their heinous acts, which shook the conscience of the country. But for a fair trial the accused person were given an opportunity to defend their case in consonance with the principles of natural justice. They all took different pleas but all their pleas were demolished by the evidence produced by the prosecution.

Here are the brief about various defense pleas taken by the accused in the Nirbhaya’s case and how each of their plea rejected by their Lordship.

1. Plea of Alibi

All the four accused took the plea of Alibi; they all stated they were not in the alleged bus where this heinous crime took place. But this plea was completely demolished by the inconsistencies in the statements of their own witnesses.

The evidence produced by the prosecution in which the DNA profiling of all the accused was found inside the bus and on the Nirbhaya’s clothes suggested their presence in that alleged bus on that fateful night.

2. DNA evidence is unreliable.

It was pleaded by the accused that the DNA profiling was unreliable as there is an apprehension that police has manipulated the MLC reports against the accused person, They also submitted that police is falsely creating a plot and the DNA report is fake.

The Prosecution established the authenticity of the DNA, MLC reports by showing the chain of transfer of these samples from different spots, they have also clearly established the tamper proof mechanisms implemented by the police and how the court could rely on the evidence on its accuracy and authenticity.

The stand of prosecution was believed by their lordship hence the stand of defense was again discredited.

3. Statements of Prosecutrix were tutored/Prosecutrix was not in the position to give statements and cannot be relied upon.

This Stand of defence was again demolished by the prosecution,  The prosecution stated that prosecutrix was conscious while she was giving her dying declaration and this fact was again certified by the doctors who were treating the prosecutrix, Then again it is hard to believe that prosecutrix who was facing an apprehension of death would give tutored statement.

4. Mukesh was only driving bus he had no participation in crime.

The prosecution has established its case U/s 34 IPC i.e  criminal conspiracy beyond reasonable doubt, There was premeditated plan and an overt act was done as per unlawful agreement between accused person. It is irrelevant whether the accused was driving the bus. Being a part of conspiracy he was equally responsible for the acts of others. The blood stains of Nirbhiya on clothes of mukesh clearly establishes his participation, even if he is not a participant still he was equally responsible.

5. Inconsistencies in Prosecutrix friend FIR.

There were Inconsistencies in the FIR of the prosecutrix friend relating to the identity of  accused person and hence plea of defense was that the accused was of a mistakenly identified.

Lordship on this point held that merely some averments in FIR cannot demolish the prosecution case completely as FIR is not conclusive evidence and it needs to be corroborated with other evidence. The stand of the defence was again demolished.

Conclusion

The case of the prosecution was based on strong scientific evidence which was again corroborated with statements of other witnesses especially the statements of prosecutrix herself and her friend which led to establish the case against accused beyond reasonable doubt and thereby vitiating all the defense pleas which ultimately led to their conviction.

We all know recently the rape incident happened in Delhi which had shaken the conscience of the whole nation yes the Nirbhaya case which outraged the people and the society as a whole and which directed the legislature to look into the laws related to sexual offences.

But here we are looking at the procedure adopted by the courts to try and punish the perpetrators, How police Investigate the issue and how strings of justice are pulled, and what ground the perpetrators seek to evade, are they successful or not. Here the different elements which are the key ingredients to prosecute the perpetrators.

  1.    FIR/Complaint-: The first step taken by the prosecutrix or the family after any rape incidence is to lodge a complaint in a nearest police station ideally without any delay, but a delay in lodging an FIR could be taken as a defence but is not a strong defence, As court would normally believe that the Delay is due to gravity of the offence and normally The amount of embarrassment faced by the prosecutrix and her family, would not facilitate her to open up and report the matter.Tulshidas Kanolkar v The State of Goa – Citation: (2003) 8 SCC 590 – Supreme Court of India

 

  1. Medical Evidence-: Medical evidence from the prosecutrix as well as from accused is taken and sent to forensic investigation, Medical evidence like Blood Sample, Semen, Vagina swabs, Test of Hymen etc. ossification test is also done in some  cases in which the age of the prosecutrix or the appellant is to be determined, but this test only gives indication and question related to juvenile accused could get settled.  However it is the fundamental right of the accused that he can refuse to give medical sample, However this act may weaken up his case, Even if the medical report does not show torn hymen or any injury due to which the prosecutrix was subjected to rape, This does not weaken up the case as medical evidence is not so conclusive that the incidence have not taken place. The medical evidence is usually opinion evidence (Duraipandi Thevar v. State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 1973 SC 659: 1973 Cr. L.J. 602). The medical opinion by itself, however, does not prove or disprove the prosecution case, it is merely of advisory character.
  1. The testimony of prosecutrix -: It is the statement of the prosecutrix which has a high weight than any other evidence, First instance of prosecutrix statement is when an FIR was lodged and it is before the investigating officer that she gives the detailed information about the incidence. Then again she has to make a statement before the magistrate u/s 164 CrPC.Now if there is minor variation between the two statements then it can be easily ignored, major variations that change the direction of the trial can be used as a defence by the accused.Supreme Court has held that in rape cases the testimony of the victim cannot be considered to be the gospel truth, though in normal circumstances her statement has to be relied upon.

However the general rule is “If the totality of circumstances appearing on the record of the case discloses that the prosecutrix does not have a strong motive to falsely involve the person charged, the court should ordinarily have no hesitation in accepting her evidence.Dyava v/s State of Karnataka”

  1. The statements of other witnesses-: The statements of prosecution witnesses are used for corroboratingthe statements of prosecutrix, but can be rebutted by virtue of cross examination un corroborated statements of prosecutrix which is not a minor raise a suspicion but uncorroborated statements of a minor girl is presumed to be true unless they are not contradictory to other facts. If a witness turns hostile then there is presumption that the witness was influenced by the defence.

The evidence of such witnesses cannot be treated as washed off the records, it remains admissible in trial and there is no legal bar to base the conviction of the accused upon such testimony, if corroborated by other reliable evidence. Section 154 of the Evidence Act enables the Court, in its discretion, to permit the person, who calls a witness, to put any question to him which might be put in cross-examination by the adverse party. The view that the evidence of the witness, who has been called and cross-examined by the party with the leave of the court, cannot be believed or disbelieved in part and has to be excluded altogether, is not the correct exposition of law. The Courts may rely upon so much of the testimony which supports the case of the prosecution and is corroborated by other evidence. It is also now settled cannon of criminal jurisprudence that the part which has been allowed to be cross-examined can also be relied upon by the prosecution. These principles have been encompassed in the judgments of Supreme Court in the cases : a. KoliLakhmanbhaiChanabhai v. State of Gujarat (1999) 8 SCC 624, b. Prithi v. State of Haryana (2010) 8 SCC 536, c. SidharthaVashisht @ Manu Sharma v. State (NCT of Delhi) (2010) 6 SCC 1, d. Ramkrushna v. State of Maharashtra (2007) 13 SCC 525.

Conclusion

There is a general presumption that no woman would stake her future prospects of marrying and her respect for falsely implicating the accused, especially if the girl is minor.

Generally court favour the victims unless it is shown that there are highly probable grounds that the accused has not done the heinous act, even the plea that character of the woman is bad do not hold ground as law does not permit that even if the woman is a prostitute no one has a right to rape her.