Take victim?s word to convict rapists: SC
The COURTS can convict a rape accused on the sole basis of the evidence given by a victim, unless her testimony is proved to be infirm and not trustworthy, the Supreme Court has ruled.india Updated: May 18, 2006 01:35 IST
The COURTS can convict a rape accused on the sole basis of the evidence given by a victim, unless her testimony is proved to be infirm and not trustworthy, the Supreme Court has ruled.
“If the totality of circumstances appearing on the record of the case discloses that the prosecutrix doesn’t have a strong motive to falsely involve the person charged, the court should ordinarily have no hesitation in accepting her evidence,” a two-judge bench said.
“It is a settled law that a victim of sexual assault is not treated as accomplice and as such, her evidence doesn’t require corroboration from any other evidence, including the evidence of a doctor. In a given case, even if the doctor who examined the victim doesn’t find signs of rape, it is no ground to disbelieve the sole testimony of the prosecutrix,” it said.
The court took into account the fact that “India women have a tendency to conceal such offence because it involves her prestige and the prestige of her family”.
The ruling came on an appeal filed by one Om Prakash from UP, who was sentenced to 10 years RI by a trial court for raping a pregnant woman in 1985. The Allahabad High Court had also upheld his conviction under Section 376(2)(e) of the IPC. However, the apex court reduced his sentence to seven years RI, saying that in the absence of any material to show the accused knew the victim to be pregnant, Section 376(2)(e) can’t be applied.
The Bench also reminded courts of their responsibility while trying rape cases. “They must deal with such cases with utmost sensitivity. They should examine the broader probabilities and not get swayed by minor contradictions in the statement of the prosecutrix... to throw out an otherwise reliable case,” it said.