Courts normally accept the uncorroborated testimony of a rape victim.
But the Bombay High Court recently observed that courts must consider the probability of false rape accusations motivated by disputes between a victim’s family and the accused.
The court said this while acquitting an agriculturist from Amravati, who was accused of raping an eight-year-old girl from his village.
On June 27, 2008, Mohammed Farooq Abdul Rauf was sentenced to 10 years in jail for allegedly raping a girl from his neighbourhood. It turned out, Rauf (37) and the alleged victim’s family had been quarrelling over the access path to a temple located in his field.
Justice A.P. Bhangale reversed the jail sentence, saying, “The evidence does not inspire (us to) believe it natural or truthful. The evidence created doubt about the genuineness of the version of the victim and her mother whose evidence was also of hearsay nature.”
It was alleged that on September 25, 2007, Rauf took the girl to their neighbour’s house and raped her in the bathroom. The incident allegedly took place at around 2.30 pm. However, in court, the girl said she was in school from 10 am to 5.30 pm and did not leave in the afternoon because they were given khichdi in school.
She also told the court that her mother has asked her to say that the accused had given her Rs 2 and had sexual intercourse with her. She added that her parents had beaten her when she did not narrate their version in her earlier presence in the witness box.
The girl’s three cousins who had accompanied her on the day of the alleged incident had witnessed the rape, her mother had claimed.
However, these witnesses were never examined.
The doctor who had examined the girl after the alleged incident had told the court her hymen was torn, which could have happened due to reasons other than sexual intercourse.