The Delhi High Court has said a rape accused can be convicted solely on the basis of the statement given by the victim even if other witnesses turn hostile.
"Conviction can be based upon the sole testimony of the prosecutrix," Justice SP Garg said on Thursday, while dismissing an appeal filed by Dinesh Sahni, who was sentenced to seven years last year for raping a minor two years ago.
The prosecution had examined 15 witnesses. Most of the witnesses, including the mother of the victim, gave inconsistent versions in the court forcing the prosecution to declare them hostile. The mother, while deposing in the court, even denied the rape.
The lawyer of the accused, Anup J Bhambani, pointed out minor discrepancies, variations and improvements in the statement of the victim made in the court in his bid to prove that the accused was innocent.
But the judge said, "…The prosecutrix has not deviated from the core issue that the accused committed rape upon her. There was no inordinate delay in lodging the FIR. There is no conflict between the oral and medical evidence."
The court upheld public prosecutor MN Dudeja's argument that "even if other witnesses gave inconsistent statement, the victim, despite being a minor, fully supported the prosecution and categorically identified the accused to be the perpetrator of the crime". He said the medical evidence also solidly supported the prosecution.
"There was no conflict in the statement she gave to the police and to the court. The victim was also categorical in identifying the accused. She denied that the statement made by her was tutored or that no such occurrence took place," the prosecutor told the court.