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Conviction for forced abortion upheld

The Supreme Court refuses to show any sympathy to a man who forced his four-month pregnant girlfriend into getting an abortion, reports Bhadra Sinha.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2007 02:01 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to show any sympathy to a man who forced his four-month pregnant girlfriend into getting an abortion as he neither wanted to marry her nor have a child. The fact that he married her as an afterthought did not come to his rescue as the court upheld his conviction by a lower court in Guwahati in January.

The victim has since pardoned her husband, Hasi Mohan Barman, and submitted an affidavit before the Supreme court, requesting it to quash the case against him. But a bench comprising Justices GP Mathur and Altamas Kabir upheld the conviction of Barman and fellow petitioner Abinash Biswas, in whose clinic the abortion was done, saying that it was impossible to quash the case as the offence against the two was compoundable.

Relying on past judgments, the bench, however, allowed their appeal partially and reduced Barman and Biswas’ jail term to the period they have already spent behind bars. Both have been in jail for 10 months since their conviction.

The apex court’s decision was based on the report of an additional sessions judge, who verified the wife’s claim that she was now happily married to Barman. In the report, the judge said Barman was living peacefully with his wife and his appeal deserved to be allowed.

Barman had first asked the victim to get the foetus aborted and when she had refused, forcibly taken her to Biswas’s clinic.

‘Accomplice a witness’

An accomplice is a competent witness and conviction based on his evidence is not illegal, the Supreme Court has ruled. If the court finds the evidence is credible and cogent, it can record a conviction even on the uncorroborated testimony of the accomplice, it added.

Giving the courts the discretion to decide on the credibility of an accomplice’s evidence, a two-judge division bench said: “The court is not obliged to hold that he is unworthy of credit.” Through the ruling, the bench upheld the conviction of two persons charged with kidnapping, robbery and murder in Jharkhand on the basis of circumstantial evidence and the testimony of the co-accused-turned-approver.

UP officials summoned

The Supreme Court has summoned the secretary of the UP Education Department and the chariman of the State’s Public Service Commission for allegedly filing false affidavits before the court on the issue of appointment of principals in government college. The two have been directed to appear before the court on November 16.

First Published: Nov 16, 2007 01:53 IST