DELHI HC: TESTIMONY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM ENOUGH FOR CONVICTION

A prosecutrix of a sex offence cannot be put on par with an accomplice. She is in fact a victim of the crime. The Evidence Act nowhere says that her evidence cannot be accepted unless it is corroborated in material particulars. She is undoubtedly a competent witness under S.118 and her evidence must receive the same weight as is attached to an injured in cases of physical violence.

The Supreme Court has held that the mere statement of a rape victim is sufficient to hold the accused guilty in a criminal trial. The law that emerges on the issue is to the effect that statement of prosecutrix (victim), if found to be worthy of credence and is reliable, requires no corroboration. The court may convict the accused on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix. The prosecutrix stands at a higher pedestal than an injured witness as she suffers from emotional injury. Therefore, her evidence need not be tested with the same amount of suspicion as that of an accomplice.

The Indian Evidence Act, 1872, nowhere says that her evidence cannot be accepted unless it is corroborated in material particulars. If the totality of the circumstances, appearing on the record of the case, disclose that the prosecutrix (victim) does not have a strong motive to falsely involve the person charged, the court should ordinarily have no hesitation in accepting her evidence.

In a case of a father accused of raping his own minor daughter, Delhi High Court observed that the testimony of the female survivor of rape if found reliable can be ‘sole ground for conviction’. It upheld the verdict given by the trial court which pronounced seven years of rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 5,000, under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. The Delhi High Court also upheld five years of rigorous imprisonment for a period of five years along with a fine of Rs 5,000 under IPC against the father named Jitendra Kumar who raped his daughter. The girl was eight years old at the time of crime.

The apex court declined to interfere with the Delhi High Court’s order awarding five year – less than the minimum – sentence prescribed – after holding Mohd Imran Khan and his friend guilty of raping a minor girl in 1989. A prosecutrix of a sex offence cannot be put on par with an accomplice. She is in fact a victim of the crime. The Evidence Act nowhere says that her evidence cannot be accepted unless it is corroborated in material particulars. She is undoubtedly a competent witness under S.118 and her evidence must receive the same weight as is attached to an injured in cases of physical violence.

The Supreme Court has held that the mere statement of a rape victim is sufficient to hold the accused guilty in a criminal trial. The law that emerges on the issue is to the effect that statement of prosecutrix (victim), if found to be worthy of credence and is reliable, requires no corroboration. The court may convict the accused on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix. The prosecutrix stands at a higher pedestal than an injured witness as she suffers from emotional injury. Therefore, her evidence need not be tested with the same amount of suspicion as that of an accomplice.

The Indian Evidence Act, 1872, nowhere says that her evidence cannot be accepted unless it is corroborated in material particulars. If the totality of the circumstances, appearing on the record of the case, disclose that the prosecutrix (victim) does not have a strong motive to falsely involve the person charged, the court should ordinarily have no hesitation in accepting her evidence.

In a case of a father accused of raping his own minor daughter, Delhi High Court observed that the testimony of the female survivor of rape if found reliable can be ‘sole ground for conviction’. It upheld the verdict given by the trial court which pronounced seven years of rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 5,000, under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. The Delhi High Court also upheld five years of rigorous imprisonment for a period of five years along with a fine of Rs 5,000 under IPC against the father named Jitendra Kumar who raped his daughter. The girl was eight years old at the time of crime.

The apex court declined to interfere with the Delhi High Court’s order awarding five year – less than the minimum – sentence prescribed – after holding Mohd Imran Khan and his friend guilty of raping a minor girl in 1989.



Credit: Jaspreet Kaur

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