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Rape Conviction Can Be Based On Sole Testimony Of Victim If Credible & Trustworthy, Reiterates Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
1 Dec 2021 12:35 PM GMT
Rape Conviction Can Be Based On Sole Testimony Of Victim If Credible & Trustworthy, Reiterates Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court reiterated that a rape accused can be convicted on sole testimony of prosecuterix if she is found to be credible and trustworthy.In this case, one of the contentions raised by the rape accused who was concurrently convicted under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code was that the prosecution case rests solely on the deposition of the prosecutrix only and that no other...

The Supreme Court reiterated that a rape accused can be convicted on sole testimony of prosecuterix if she is found to be credible and trustworthy.

In this case, one of the contentions raised by the rape accused who was concurrently convicted under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code was that the prosecution case rests solely on the deposition of the prosecutrix only and that no other independent witnesses have been examined and/or supported the case of the prosecutrix.

While examining this contention, the bench comprising Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna noted that the prosecutrix has fully supported the case of the prosecution and has been consistent right from the very beginning. On this point, the court noticed the following observations made in earlier judgments:

  1. There can be a conviction on the sole testimony of the victim/prosecutrix when the deposition of the prosecutrix is found to be trustworthy, unblemished, credible and her evidence is of sterling quality. f Ganesan v. State, [(2020) 10 SCC 573]
  2. as a general rule, if credible, conviction of accused can be based on sole testimony, without corroboration. It is further observed and held that sole testimony of prosecutrix should not be doubted by court merely on basis of assumptions and surmises. [ State (NCT of Delhi) v. Pankaj Chaudhary, (2019) 11 SCC 575 ]
  3. testimony of the victim is vital and unless there are compelling reasons which necessitate looking for corroboration of her statement, the courts should find no difficulty to act on the testimony of the victim of sexual assault alone to convict an accused where her testimony inspires confidence and is found to be reliable. It is further observed that seeking corroboration of her statement before relying upon the same, as a rule, in such cases amounts to adding insult to injury. [Sham Singh v. State of Haryana, (2018) 18 SCC 34]

Thus, the bench observed:

6. Applying the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid decisions to the facts of the case on hand and as observed hereinabove, we see no reason to doubt the credibility and/or trustworthiness of the prosecutrix. She is found to be reliable and trustworthy. Therefore, without any further corroboration, the conviction of the accused relying upon the sole testimony of the prosecutrix can be sustained.

The court also rejected the accused's plea to reduce the sentence considering the proviso to Section 376 IPC. Dismissing the appeal, the court observed thus:

As per section 376 IPC pre-amendment, the minimum punishment shall be seven years. However, as per the proviso, the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years. No exceptional and/or special reasons are made out to impose the sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years. On the contrary and in the facts and circumstances of the case, it can be said that accused has been dealt with lightly by imposing the minimum sentence of seven years rigorous imprisonment only. The victim was the relative. Nobody in the family at matrimonial home supported her and she suffered the trauma. She was compelled to go to her parental house and thereafter she was able to lodge the FIR. The accused has come out with a false case/plea of alibi, which is not accepted by the courts below. Under the circumstances, the prayer of the appellant to reduce the sentence and/or to convert the sentence from seven years rigorous imprisonment to seven years simple imprisonment is not accepted and it is rejected.



Case name: Phool Singh vs State of Madhya Pradesh

Citation: LL 2021 SC 696

Case no. and Date: CrA 1520 OF 2021 | 1 Dec 2021

Coram: Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna 



Click here to Read/Download Judgment




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