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  • Writer's pictureVidhi Chouradia

Tuka Ram and Anr. v. State of Maharashtra

Simran Bundela,

University of Lucknow

Citation: 1979 AIR 185

                1979 SCR(1) 810

                1979 SCC(2) 143


Court: Supreme court of India

Bench: A.D. Koshal, Jaswant Singh and P.S. Kailasam.


Appellants: Tukaram and others

Respondent: State of Maharashtra

Date of Judgement: 15/09/1978


Facts of the case:

Mathura ,a tribal girl lived with her brother Gama both orphans, worked as labourers to earn a living .

Mathura worked at Nunshi's house , there she grew close to Ashok ,son of Nunshi's sister. They both decided to get married.

On March 26 ,1962 Gama , lodged a complaint alleging that Mathura has been kidnapped by Ashok, Mushi and her husband Laxman.

On the same day , at 9:00 pm Mathura, Ashok and Laxman were brought to the police station.

Head constable lodged the complaint and then recorded the statements of Mathura and Ashok.

Baburao instructed Gama to bring an entry of Mathura's birth time and left. Ashok and Nunshi also began to leave .

However, Mathura was held in the Police Station by the appellants while others waited outside .

After a while when Mathura did not return they became suspicious and called for Mathura  which caused a crowd to gather .

Then, Appellant  Tukaram emerged from the rear end of the building and told Ashok , Gama and Nunshi that Mathura has already left. Mathura then also emerged from the rear end of the building.

She then told Nunshi and Gama that she was made to undress and then was raped in the Police Station.

This caused an outburst among the crowd . Baburao was called to the police station .

When Mathura was taken for a medical checkup for evidence of rape , they were to told to lodge a complaint in the police station. Baburao lodged the complaint.

Upon Medical examination , it was provided that there were no marks on the body proving of any physical hurt or force. The hymen had old ruptures and the vagina admitted two fingers. There were no smears of semen  on either pubic hair or the genitals although traces of semen were found on girl's clothes.


Issue raised: 

•Whether the two appellants punishable of an offence under section 376 read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code .

•Whether Tukaram, appellant No. 1, punishable of an offence under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code and the second appellant named Ganpat of one under section 376 of IPC.

•  Can a minor give consent to any sexual conduct.

•  Are bodily injury important to prove rape.


It was argued that there were no marks of bodily injury, signifying no resistance hence consented . No proof of girl’s minority.


Sessions Court: The sessions Judge held that there was no sufficient proof of Mathura's minority.

Mathura's testimony was held to be unreliable  as it was " riddled with falsehood and improbabilities".

The hymen had old ruptures which was perceived as Mathura being "Habituated to Sexual Intercourse "  and there were no signs of  marks on body showing restraint it force ,hence it was sexual intercourse and not rape. 

The accused were acquitted.

High Court: The High Court took notes of the findings by the learned Sessions Judge and side with them in regards to Mathura's age and also brought light onto the difference between consent and passive submission as being in a situation that Mathura was in ,her giving consent was highly unlikely and  probability was that the intercourse was in fact passive submission. And the absence of semen could have been due to delay of 20 hrs for the examination and that she could have taken a bath in that time period.

The High Court reversed the acquittal by the Sessions Court and the accused were convicted, Tukaram was sentenced to 1 year of imprisonment and Ganpat was sentenced to 5 yrs of imprisonment.

Supreme Court rulings:

The Supreme Court held that Mathura being "habituated to Sexual Intercourse" and the stains of semen could have been of another person since Mathura already has a lover ,Ashok . Similarly for the appellant the stains of  semen could have been of while having sexual intercourse with person other than Mathura.

Then, concluded that the prosecution failed to prove its case . The High Court judgement was reversed and sentences imposed on the appellants were set aside.


New amendments were added to fill the lacunae of the legislation, the cause of which were people around the country against the acquittal of the appellants.

Where the High Court tried to establish the distinction between consent and passive submission, and put forth every reasoning to understand the incident best in order to provide justice, The Supreme Court overturned the judgement defining Mathura statement to be unreliable without any proof of age proving her minority.

The decision of overturning the High Court judgement by the Supreme Court raises many questions. Using bodily injury to determine rape is abhorrent. 

Even though the amendments are made regarding the age and consent of the victim, it can't be neglected that the appellants were acquitted. This acquittal was injustice towards the victim.  

It is ironic ,how a case could result in amendments and laying down of new laws, but the people themselves involved in the case do not get complete justice.

Mathura's age according to medical examination was determined to be under 16 years , yet the fact was ignored.

The crime was committed in a 'Police Station ' ,the appellants being drunk on duty ,were anyhow acquitted . Meanwhile Mathura ,except for not getting justice was called or labelled with derogatory remarks .

Several appeals were made to reopen the case, but were all declined as amendments have already been made to serve the purpose.


The Hon'ble Supreme Court acquitted the accused for lack of evidence. And to overcome any such complexity in future , New Amendments were made in the Indian Penal Code

•Section 114(A) added to the Indian Evidence Act stating that the court will presume that the victim did not consent of she says she did not give her consent .

•Section 376 (A) , Section 376 (B) , Section 376(C) , Section (D) added in the Indian Penal Code which made custodial rape punishable. • The amendment also shifted the burden of proof from the accuser to the accused once intercourse is established .• Provisions for in camera trials prohibition on victim identity disclosure and tougher sentences.




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1 Comment

Utkarsh Mishra
Utkarsh Mishra
Mar 16

The analysis is quite impressive and in-depth.

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