Courts cautioned against false charges of rape

Legal Correspondent

“False charges levelled to settle personal scores”

Apex court acquits a person sentenced for rape in 1991

Medical evidence does not support girl’s claim: court

New Delhi: While relying on the sole evidence of a rape victim for convicting the accused, the trial courts and the High Courts must be conscious of false charges of rape being levelled by an individual to settle personal scores at the instigation of the parents, the Supreme Court has said.

“It is now well settled that a finding of guilt in a case of rape, can be based on the uncorroborated evidence of the prosecutrix. The very nature of offence makes it difficult to get direct corroborating evidence. The evidence of the prosecutrix should not be rejected on the basis of minor discrepancies and contradictions,” said a Bench of Justices R.V. Raveendran and B. Sudershan Reddy.

The Bench said: “The courts should, at the same time, bear in mind that false charges of rape are not uncommon. There have also been rare instances where a parent has persuaded a gullible or obedient daughter to make a false charge of a rape either to take revenge or extort money or to get rid of financial liability. Whether there was rape or not would depend ultimately on the facts and circumstances of each case.”

Writing the judgment, Justice Raveendran said: “If the victim of rape states on oath that she was forcibly subjected to sexual intercourse, her statement will normally be accepted, even if it is uncorroborated, unless the material on record requires drawing of an inference that there was consent or that the entire incident was improbable or imaginary. Even if there is consent, the act will still be a ‘rape’ if the girl is under 16 years of age.”

In the instant case, the appellant, Radhu was sentenced by the trial court to undergo seven years imprisonment for the rape of a girl in January 1991. The Madhya Pradesh High Court affirmed the conviction and the present appeal is directed against this judgment.

Allowing the appeal and acquitting the accused of all charges, the Bench pointed out that in this case “the medical evidence does not corroborate the case of sexual intercourse or rape. We are thus left with the sole testimony of the prosecutrix. The evidence of the prosecutrix when read as a whole, is full of discrepancies and does not inspire confidence. The gaps in the evidence, the several discrepancies in the evidence and other circumstances make it highly improbable that such an incident ever took place. We are satisfied that the evidence does not warrant a finding of guilt at all, and the trial Court and High Court erred in returning a finding of guilt.”

Source: The Hindu

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