Delhi High Court on an appeal against conviction for rape (Rohit Bansal and Ors v. State), acquitted five men who were sentence to imprisonment for life under Section 376(2)(g) of IPC, finding that they were falsely implicated. Speaking on the plight of such rape accused facing trial for false charges, the court said "There is no doubt that rape causes great distress and humiliation to the victim of rape but at the same time false allegation of committing a rape also causes humiliation and damage to the accused. An accused also has rights which are to be protected and the possibility of false implication has to be ruled out".
The conviction by the trial court was based on the prosecution story which relied heavily on the victim’s testimony without sufficient corroboration. As the allegation by the victim suggests, she was raped several times by the accused and his friends and one of them secretly took photographs of the same. But the counsel representing the accused submitted that the accused and the victim were in a relationship, he refused to marry her on finding that she was of easy virtue. This prompted the girl to bring false charges of rape against him and his friends.
The Court found several infirmities in the evidence adduced by the prosecution which failed to inspire the confidence of the court. Evidence of medical examination reveals that there was no injury on the body of the victim, on whom it was alleged that a series of rape was committed in spite of her protest. This, according to the court, if read with the inordinate delay in filing FIR and the Victim’s failure to disclose the relationship with one of the accused, is sufficient to create serious doubts as to the credibility of the prosecution story. It was held that “In the instant case, the testimony of the prosecutrix is not natural and consistent with the case of the prosecution. Her version has no correlation with other supporting material being medical, scientific and expert evidence.”The court relied on the Supreme Court Judgement in Raju v. State of Madhya Pradesh [(2008) 15 SCC 133], where court held that “testimony of the victim of a rape cannot be presumed to be a gospel truth and observed that false allegations of rape can cause equal distress, humiliation and damage to the accused as well”
The High court maintains the view that it is a settled principle of law that conviction can be based on the sole testimony of the victim of sexual assault without corroboration from any other evidence. However, if the court finds it difficult to accept the version of the prosecutrix on its face value, it may search for evidence, direct or substantial, which may lend assurance to her testimony. While reversing the conviction the court observed that, the trial court erroneously appreciated the evidence, and said that “we find a large number of contradictions, inconsistencies, concealment, improvements and exaggerations in her statement which casts shadow of doubt and led us to find it difficult to rely upon her version”.
Read the Judgment here.