Victim's evidence enough in rape conviction: SC

The apex court said the ruling will hold unless the testimony is proved.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 00:32 IST

Courts can convict a rape accused on the basis of the sole 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 does not have a strong motive to falsely involve the person charged, the court should ordinarily have no hesitation in accepting her evidence," a Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice SH Kapadia said.

"It is a settled law that the victim of sexual assault is not treated as accomplice and as such, her evidence does not require corroboration from any other evidence including the evidence of a doctor."

"In a given case even if the doctor who examined the victim does not find sign of rape, it is no ground to disbelieve the sole testimony of the prosecutrix," it said.

The court took into account the fact that "the India women have tendency to conceal such offence because it involves her prestige as well as prestige of her family. Only in few cases, the victim girl or the family members have the courage to go before the police station and lodge a case".

The ruling came on an appeal filed by one Om Prakash from UP, who was sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment by the trial court for raping a pregnant woman in 1985. The Allahabad High Court also upheld his conviction under Section 376(2)(e) of IPC.

However, the apex court reduced his sentence to 7-year rigorous imprisonment, saying in the absence of any material to show that the accused knew the victim to be pregnant, Section 376(2)(e) of IPC cannot be applied.

First Published: May 17, 2006 17:00 IST