Unhappy with the prosecution’s failure to establish its charges of rape against an accused after the victim turned hostile, a Delhi court asked whether the accused, “acquitted honourably, be addressed as a rape case survivor”, just like victims are often termed as “rape survivors”.
The court also suggested that such cases, in which the victim turned hostile, made one “ponder over the present day situation of the veracity of rape cases”.
According to the prosecution case, the when the victim and the accused had met through a friend in January 2013. They had eventually become become close and reportedly established physical relationship as well. However, in the FIR the victim originally filed, she claimed that the two soon started having differences. She also claimed that accused reneged on his promise to marry saying he needed more time to think about marriage.
In her statements to police and the magistrate, the woman had also alleged that the accused “forcefully established physical relations with her and beat her”. She claimed that the accused “blackmailed her and threatened to upload her photographs on Facebook”.
However, during cross examination by the Additional Public Prosecutor, the woman retracted her statements and claimed that her statements to police and the magistrate had been made “under stress”.
She also claimed that she had made those statements on the direction of her relatives and her well-wishers, but that she did not remember who they were.
Eventually, she sought that the accused be acquitted, thereby denying all the charges under Sections 376 (rape), 323 (causing hurt) and 506 (threat) of the IPC that she levelled against him.
“There is nothing incriminating against him when the prosecutrix is hostile and nothing material has come forth in her cross examination by the prosecution… From the above discussion, it is clear that the evidence of the prosecution is neither reliable nor believable and is not trustworthy. The prosecution has failed to establish rape, threat and hurt. The evidence of the prosecutrix makes it highly improbable that such an incident ever took place,” the court observed.
Acquitting the accused of all charges, the court said, “I would also like to mention that in recent times a new expression is being used for a rape victim, which is ‘rape survivor’. The prosecutrix, a woman or a girl who is alive, who has levelled allegations of rape is now called a rape survivor. In the present case, the accused has been acquitted of the charge of rape as the prosecutrix retracted and turned hostile. In the circumstances…, should the acquitted accused be addressed as a rape case survivor? This leaves us with much to ponder about the present day situation of the veracity of the rape cases”.