Rape conviction can be based on solitary testimony of victim, says SC
She is a nine-year-old school girl who was sexually abused by her relative. He made the little girl sleep with him during night. She told her teacher that he used to remove her clothes and sexually assault her.
The police charged a case of rape against him following which the sessions court convicted the accused, a cousin of the girl and sentenced him for life imprisonment.
But the High Court of Himachal Pradesh reversed the sessions court judgment and let him free observing that the evidence tendered by the victim, did not inspire confidence to sustain the conviction.
There upon the state government filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.
The lady doctor who had examined the girl upon intimation from the police told the sessions court that the hymen of the girl was not ruptured. She also informed the court that the hymen will rupture only in case of complete penetration of the penis.
The sessions court had convicted the accused believing the statements of the minor girl.
However, the High Court opined that the evidence given by the doctor was not conclusive to hold that the accused had had raped the child.
But Supreme Court concluded that conviction can be sustained on the solitary testimony of the girl. It observed that the absence of injuries on the private part of the girl doesn’t mean that the incident had not taken place or a sexual crime was not committed.
The Supreme Court further said that the absence of injuries on the private part or absence of hymen rupture can be of no consequence when the facts and circumstances of the case are examined by the court.
If the testimony of the girl can be acted upon, if it inspires confidence in the court, conviction can be sustained, said the court and sentenced the accused to life imprisonment.
There is definite evidence given by her teacher that the girl had told her about the incidents during night when the accused removed her clothes and sexually abused her. Even if the court finds that the doctor's evidence has discrepancies or that medical evidence is not available, solitary testimony of the girl can be relied upon to sustain conviction provided it inspires confidence in the court, the Supreme Court observed.