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Can't Disbelieve Rape Survivor's Testimony Just Because She Couldn't Offer Physical Resistance: Delhi HC [Read Judgment]

Apoorva Mandhani
30 Oct 2017 4:11 AM GMT
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The Delhi High Court, on Wednesday, reiterated the position that a rape survivor's testimony cannot be disbelieved merely for the reason of absence of injuries on her body.

"Therefore, mere absence of injuries either as a mark of resistance to the advances allegedly made by the appellants or as internal injuries, would not by itself discard the testimony of prosecutrix," Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal observed.

The Court was hearing an Appeal challenging the order of conviction and sentence imposed on the Appellants for offences under Section 376(2)(g) (gang-rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. They had contended that they had been falsely implicated and had raised several questions against the prosecution case.

The Court, however, discarded such doubts, noting that the woman's testimony was reliable. It further refused to question her assertions merely because she did not bear any injury marks on her body. It noted that she had alleged that she was threatened against raising an alarm.

"Therefore, in these circumstances there is every possibility that the prosecutrix out of fear of death might have not resisted to the extent so as to withstand any injury on her body. Therefore, mere absence of injuries either as a mark of resistance to the advances allegedly made by the appellants or as internal injuries, would not by itself discard the testimony of prosecutrix," it then observed.

Justice Sehgal, however, added that each case was to be examined on its own facts and circumstances, adding, "It is a settled proposition that injury is not sine qua non to prove the offence of sexual act, provided the evidence of the victim does not suffer from any basic infirmity and the probability factor does not render it unworthy of credence...

...In the facts and circumstances of the present case, it is clear that alleged incident had taken place. Merely because the prosecutrix was a helpless victim who was by force prevented from offering serious physical resistance, cannot be disbelieved. Therefore, on the combined reading of medical and ocular evidences in the light of present facts and circumstances of the case, it can be said that the evidences adduced herein are fully established."

The Court, thereafter, dismissed the appeal, observing that there was no reason to view the testimony of the prosecutrix with suspicion.

Read the Judgment Here

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