New Delhi, 25 July
In a relief to MDLR airlines employee Aruna Chadha, the Delhi High Court today quashed the charges of abatement of rape and unnatural sex against her. It also held that they cannot be "sustained" against prime accused Gopal Kanda in the former air-hostess Geetika Sharma’s suicide case.
"It is apparent that the ASJ (additional sessions judge) unjustly admitted into evidence the confessional statement made by the petitioner (Chadha) and illegally put the burden to prove the same on the co-accused (Kanda) and the Petitioner which is not permissible… The ASJ fell into gross error in framing the charge under Sections 376/377 (rape and unnatural sex) against the co-accused GGK (Kanda) which cannot be sustained. Since no charge against co-accused under these Sections could have been framed, the petitioner could not have been guilty of abetting these offences," said Justice G P Mittal.
The verdict, referred to Chadha’s statement to police and held that except the disclosure statement, there was not even a shred of evidence to show that Kanda sexually exploited the victim and Chadha abetted in the commission of these offences.
"Apart from the supplementary disclosure statement of the Petitioner AC (Chadha) there is nothing to indicate that co-accused GGK (Kanda) had illicit relations with X (victim) or that she had multiple pregnancies… All the more, there is not even a shred of evidence to indicate that co-accused GGK committed sexual intercourse with deceased X or had carnal intercourse against the order of nature with her or that the same was against her (the deceased) will or without her consent or that the Petitioner facilitated in any act of rape or unnatural offence alleged to have been committed by GGK… The petition is partly allowed to the extent that the framing of the charge for the offence punishable under Section 376/109 and Section 377/109 IPC is set aside," said the court.
The bench, meanwhile, also allowed another plea of Delhi Police seeking to expunge the adverse remarks made by the lower court against the probe agency and the public prosecutor for not probing the sexual exploitation angle in the case.
The High Court today held the offences, including abatement of suicide, was made out against them, but there was no prima facie evidence indicating that they were also involved in the commission of rape and unnatural sex.