|Citation||6 SCC 263|
|Date of Judgement||12 August 2006|
|Court||SUPREME COURT OF INDIA|
|Case Type||INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860|
|Respondent||The State of Madhya Pradesh & Anr.|
|Bench||Arijit Pasayat & S.H. Kapadia|
|Referred||“Where a woman is raped by one or more in a group of persons acting in furtherance of their common intention, each of the persons shall be deemed to have committed gang rape”.|
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The prosecutrix was returning from a sports meet by Utkal Express. When she reached her destination at Sagar railway station, the accused who was also the husband of the appellant approached her and said he was sent by her father to pick her up from the railway station. The prosecutrix who was suffering from a high fever at that time agreed to go with him because she thought owing to her health condition it was better to believe him. Later, the accused took her to his home and raped her. During the commission of the rape, the appellant came into the room and the prosecutrix requested the appellant to save her from the accused but the appellant slapped her and with a loud thus closed the door of the room and left the place. The complaint was lodged and an investigation was conducted. The charge sheet was filed and the accused was charged with Section 323(punishment for causing hurt voluntarily) and Section 376 (punishment for rape) of IPC, while the appellant was charged with Section 323 and Section 376(2) (gang rape) of the Indian Penal Code.
- Whether a woman be prosecuted for the commission of gang rape?
- Whether the woman be held for abetment of crime under section 108 of IPC?
The learned counsel for the appellant argued that the high court has missed the essence of section 375 and section 376 because a woman cannot be tried for the offence of gang rape under the Indian Penal Code and certainly cannot be convicted for the commission of gang rape under the provision of section 376 IPC. Also, he argued that the explanation attached to section 376(2) has no application or relevance in this case.
On the contrary, the counsel for the state supported the order of the MP high court and argued that even if for a chance we believed in the arguments of the appellant side and said that the appellant can’t be tried for the commission of gang rape under section 376 IPC but still the appellant can certainly be prosecuted for the commission of the offence of abetment.
The Supreme Court held that owing to the definition of rape given in section 375 IPC, a woman cannot be held guilty for the commission of rape. But if we look at section 376(2) it says that when one or more persons act in furtherance of their common intention to rape then all the persons of that group whether a man or woman can be held liable for the commission of gang rape.
This rule is based on section 34 of IPC which when read with section 376(2)(g) says that to prove common intention there should be some pre-planning or prior meeting of the minds which cannot be possible in the case of a woman because a woman can’t really develop the intention to rape.
As on the question of trying the appellant with the abetment of the offence which was raised by the counsel for the state the court held that for that purpose the state should refer to the high court first.
- E-Justice India, “Case Summary: Priya Patel vs. State of Madhya Pradesh & Anr on 12th of July, 2006.,” February 26, 2023, https://www.ejusticeindia.com/case-summary-priya-patel-vs-state-of-madhya-pradesh-anr/#:~:text=The%20case%20of%20Priya%20Patel,High%20Court%20of%20Madhya%20Pradesh.
- Legal Service India, “Priya Patel v/s State of M.P,” n.d., https://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l401-Priya-Patel-Vs-State-Of-M.P.html.
This Article is written by Anmol Singh of the Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia, Intern at Legal Vidhiya.