New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that a rape accused cannot be convicted on the basis of sole testimony of the victim unless it is “absolutely trustworthy, unblemished and of sterling quality”.
A bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah has reiterated that the sterling witness should be of very high quality and calibre, whose version should be unassailable. The apex court’s observation came while acquitting a man, who was accused of raping his sister-in-law in September 2011 in Makhdumpur, Patna.
The victim had complained that her brother-in-law, the accused, had raped her on the preceding night of September 16, 2011. Based on her complaint an FIR was registered.
A trial court had sentenced the accused to 10 years of jail, which was upheld by the High Court. The man then moved the apex court.
The lawyer representing the man argued that “except the deposition/evidence of the prosecutrix (victim) which has not been corroborated by the medical evidence, there is no other independent and cogent evidence to connect the accused with the guilt”.
Taking note of the submissions that there were material contradictions in the evidence of the victim, the top court said the version of the victim could not be taken as the gospel truth as in the absence of any other supporting evidence, there was no scope to sustain the conviction.
The bench noted that ordinarily the sole testimony of the victim was enough to convict an accused of rape, it could not lose sight of the protection of the accused against false implication.
News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it
You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.
You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.
We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.
At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.
This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.
If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.