COURT :  Supreme Court of India (Division Bench (DB)- Two Judge)


JUDGEMENT DATE : Oct 25, 2021


Section 354 – Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty

Section 376 – Punishment for rape

Section 511 – Punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment




  1. The prosecution case is that, about a fortnight prior to

20.12.2005 (date of registration of FIR), the two victim­prosecutrix

who are named as ‘X’ (PW­1) and ‘Y’ (PW­2), aged about 9 years

and 8 years respectively, were playing ‘gilli­danda’ in the street

located near the respondent’s house. The respondent who was

known to both the victims by virtue of living in the same locality,

called them with the inducement that he will give them money.

Lured by the promise of getting money, both victims went along with

the respondent to his house which was totally empty at the time of

the incident. Taking advantage of this opportune moment, the

respondent closed all the doors of the house from inside. He then led

the victims to one of the rooms in the house and declared that he would

marry them. It is stated that the respondent thereafter undressed

PW­1 and made her lie down on the cotton cot which was kept in the

room. Meanwhile, he also took off his clothes and started rubbing

his genitals against the genitals of PW­1. Further, in the same

identical manner, the above­mentioned act was repeated with


  1. Both the minor victims, as an obvious reaction to the

respondent’s acts must have felt scared and shocked because of

which they allegedly started crying. The respondent apprehending

that the neighbours could possibly hear the victims’ voices, told

them not to disclose anything about this incident and silenced

them by threatening them with physical harm. However, after a

few days, both victims revealed the details of the incident to their

friend who is named as ‘Z’ (PW­8). Fortunately, the incident which

could have remained buried forever, surfaced because of the fateful

and inadvertent intervention of PW­8. It is stated that on the

occasion of a religious gathering at PW­2’s house, PW­8 started

teasing PW­2 by calling her as ‘respondent’s wife’, which led to PW­6

(PW­2’s mother) inquiring the reasons behind the same. This chance

probe spiralled into the victims revealing the incident’s details to

their mothers. On the same day of the gathering, PW­2 confided in

PW­6 when the latter prodded her to share the details of the

incident. Similarly, PW­1 confided in PW­3 (PW1’s mother) on the

same day in the evening. The mothers (PW­3 and PW­6) then

communicated the same to their respective husbands. After a lapse

of 15 days of the incident, the present FIR was thus filed.

  1. The Trial Court convicted the respondent for the offence under

Section 376(2)(f) read with Section 511 IPC though acquitted him

under Sections 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes

(Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The respondent was sentenced

to undergo rigorous imprisonment of 5 years and fine of Rs.5000/­.

  1. The respondent laid challenge to his conviction before the

Principal Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court and vide impugned

judgment dated 08.10.2009, the High Court modified the

judgment of the Trial Court; set aside the conviction under

Section 376(2)(f) read with Section 511 IPC and convicted the

respondent under Section 354 IPC and sentenced him to undergo

2 years of rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs. 5000/­. The

High Court was of the opinion that:


“17. On going through the evidence on record

particularly allegations in FIR Ex.P/1, I am of the

view that the appellant did not make all

efforts to attempt to commit rape with both

prosecutrix, he had not gone beyond the

stage of preparation and he did not intend to

do so at all events. It is well settled principle of

law that preparation of any offence cannot be termed

as attempt to commit the same offence, I am of the

considered view that the strength of evidence on

record the offence of indecent assault by the

appellant on both the prosecutrix u/s 354 IPC is

made out beyond reasonable doubt

Consequently the appellant is acquitted of charge

376 (2)­(f) read with Section 511 IPC two counts.

The Appellant is convicted u/s 354 of IPC.”


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