HC: Female victim’s statement is sufficient to proceed against accused
The testimony of a prosecutrix in a case of crime against women does not require any corroboration and is sufficient to proceed against an accused, the Punjab and Haryana high court has said
The testimony of a prosecutrix in a case of crime against women does not require any corroboration and is sufficient to proceed against an accused, the Punjab and Haryana high court has said. The trial court is not required to look for any other supportive or new material at the time of framing of charges, the court added.
The high court bench of justice Suvir Sehgal was dealing with a plea from one Balkar Singh of Mansa. According to allegations levelled by a woman, he had a property dispute with her. On spotting the woman working in the courtyard of her house on October 25, 2016, he allegedly stopped his tractor and co-accused Bhola Singh instigated him to disgrace her.
Upon this, both allegedly entered her house, and Balkar Singh molested her and tried to drag her inside. When she resisted his attempts, he assaulted her and inflicted injuries on her, it was alleged, following which an FIR was registered for outraging woman’s modesty, house trespass and voluntarily causing hurt.
The woman had named Balkar consistently, and categorically deposed regarding his role. However, police filed the chargesheet only against the co-accused, Bhola Singh. The police probe had concluded that Balkar was not in the village at the time of the incident on the basis of the tower location of his mobile phone.
The trial court framed charges against the co-accused, but on the basis of the woman’s plea, the revisional court ordered Balkar’s summoning as an additional accused. He had challenged this order before the high court, claiming that order passed by the revisional court is not sustainable as it ignored that the investigation found him innocent.
The high court said the apex court has spelt out that what trial court has to examine at the time of framing of charges is whether prime facie case is made out for framing of charge. It further said that the material on record has to be examined in this background. Since, the woman has consistently and categorically deposed regarding Balkar’s role, he ought to be summoned, said the high court.
“The evidence of the prosecutrix has been placed on a much higher pedestal than that of an injured witness by the Supreme Court,” the bench observed, adding that her testimony does not require any corroboration and is sufficient to proceed against the accused. Dismissing Balkar’s plea, it directed the trial court to frame fresh charges and conduct the trial again.