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Rape victim’s statement enough for conviction: SC
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 17
Giving impetus to the testimony of a rape victim in the wake of rising crime against women, the Supreme Court has ruled that the statement of the victim could be considered to be the “sole evidence” to convict an accused provided it was not found trustworthy.

If it was proved with the circumstantial evidence that the rape victim did not have a “strong motive to falsely” implicate the accused person, the trial courts should ordinarily have no hesitation in accepting her sole statement as evidence, a Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S. H. Kapadia said.

It was a settled law that the victim of rape was not to be treated as an accomplice in the offence and as such her evidence did not require corroboration from any other evidence, including the medical evidence even if the report of the doctor who examined her did not confirm the offence, the court said.

Apparently taking into account various cases in recent past in which medical tests were done after the lapse of a considerable time of the rape, the court said “the Indian 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 or her 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.

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.


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