Case Brief: Tukaram and others vs State of Maharashtra

Brief Details:

  • Relevant Citation: AIR 1979 SC 185
  • Decided on: 15th September, 1978
  • Court: Supreme Court of India
  • Judge Bench: A.D. Koshal, Jaswant Singh and P.S. Kailasam

Facts of the Case:

Mathura, a young orphan, lived with her brother named Gama as her parents had died. She used to work at the house of Nunshi. There she developed sexual relations with Ashok, the son of Nunshi’s sister. Later they decided to get married. On 26th March, 1972, Gama filed a complaint in the Desai Ganj Police Station alleging that Ashok’s family had kidnapped Mathura. Head Constable Baburao called Gama, Mathura, Ashok and Nunshi to record their statements. At 10:30 PM Baburao left the police station and asked the other four to also leave. When Mathura, Gama, Ashok and Nunshi were leaving, Ganpat (Constable) asked Mathura to come inside. Ganpat sexually assaulted her in the bathroom and looked at her private parts with a torch. He then took her behind the police station and raped her. After he was done, Tukaram came and sexually assaulted her and fondled with her private parts, he tried to rape but failed, as he was highly intoxicated. Mathura narrated the whole incident with her family members. On 27th March, she was examined by Dr. Kamal Shastrakar on whose advice an FIR was filed. After examining it was found that there were no injuries on the body and no signs of intercourse. After a long legal battle, the Supreme Court acquitted both the appellants.

Issue Raised:

Whether Appellant one named Tukaram had committed offence under Section 354 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 [1]and the second appellant named Ganpat under Section 376 of Indian Penal Code, 1860[2].

Session Court’s Judgement:

The Session Court’s Judge found that there was no evidence to prove that Mathura was below 16 years of age. He further held that Mathura was a liar. The judge held that Mathur had intercourse with Ganpat (second appellant). He said that there is difference between the word “sexual intercourse” and “rape”. He stated that Mathura had sexual intercourse with Ganpat on her free will. Tukaram grabbed her because she was accustomed to sexual intercourse. It was held that prosecution was not able to prove the case against the appellant.

Bombay High Court’s Judgement:

The Bombay High Court agreed with the Session Judge on the account of Mathura’s age. But the High Court was of the view that allegations made by Mathura against Ganpat were reliable due to circumstantial evidence, especially because of the presence of stains of semen on the clothes of the girl and Ganpat.

The High Court agreed with the Session Court Judge’s observation that, there was difference between the word “sexual intercourse” and “rape”. But the High Court was of the view that there is a difference between “consent” and “passive submission”. It was held that it was a forced sexual intercourse with the girl and it amounted to rape.

The High Court was of the view that Tukaram had made no attempt to rape the girl but he fondled with her private parts. The High Court convicted and sentenced Tukaram with one year imprisonment and Ganpat with five years of imprisonment.

Supreme Court’s Judgement:

The Supreme Court reversed the order of the Bombay High Court and acquitted both of the accused. The Supreme Court agreed with the decision given by the Session Judge that it was a case of consensual sexual intercourse and not at all a case of rape. The court held that there was no mark of injuries on the body of the victim. And there was no evidence of battle at the private parts and she didn’t raise any alarm which makes it clear that the victim had made a false story.


[1] https://indiankanoon.org/doc/203036/ (Last Visited on 7th August, 2021 at 11:38 AM)

[2] https://indiankanoon.org/doc/203036/ (Last Visited on 7th August, 2021 at 11:42 AM)

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