The Supreme Court has held that in rape cases the testimony of the victim cannot be considered to be the gospel truth, though in normal circumstances her statement has to be relied upon.
A bench of justices H S Bedi and J M Panchal said while primacy has to be given to victim's statement, there can be no presumption that she is telling the ultimate truth as the charge has to be proved "beyond reasonable doubt" as in any other criminal case.
"We are conscious of the fact that in a matter of rape, the statement of victim must be given primary consideration. But, at the same time, the broad principle that the prosecution has to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt applies equally to a case of rape and there can be no presumption that a prosecutrix would always tell the entire story truthfully," the apex court said in an order.
The court passed the observation while acquitting one of the three accused Abbas Ahmad Chowdhary charged with raping a minor girl.
It was the case of the prosecution that on September 15, 1997, the accused-appellants Md. Mizazul Haq, Abbas Ahmad Choudhury and one Ranju Das (absconding) had raped the victim after forcibly taking her to a tea estate in Jalalpur.