The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Delhi government to pay a compensation of Rs. 3 lakh to a minor rape victim.
A bench headed by justice S Ravindra Bhat issued the order after convicting the accused, Jai Hind, who raped the 10-year-old girl in June 2008, and overturning his acquittal by the lower court in 2011. "The compensation is being ordered after considering the facts of the case and tender age of the victim," said the bench.
Also citing earlier cases, the court stressed the need to make the court environment more friendly for child witnesses so they could depose without any pressure.
The court said that a child witness must be made to depose at the earliest before the court so that she or he does not forget what was seen. The age of the child must be kept in mind with respect to the language used. A person close to the child, in addition to the parent or guardian, should be present at the spot of examination. The child should be given adequate time and encouragement to narrate the incident witnessed by her or him, the court said.
Repeated questioning of the child witness should be avoided as it tends to confuse children who can easily be manipulated into contradictions, intimidated into silence and confused into general emotional or cognitive disorganisation, court said.
The victim was alone at her elder sister's house when the accused, living on the same premises entered her room and raped her when the sister was away. The trial court acquitted the accused, holding that the sole testimony of the victim was not sufficient for a conviction. But the high court found sufficient evidence for a conviction.