THE Bombay High Court recently refused bail to a man accused of raping a mentally challenged woman, stating that in tradition-bound Indian society, it was unlikely that a complainant would put the honour of her family at stake in order to make a false allegation of rape against a resident of her village. Stating that at this stage, it could not be said that there was no prima facie material against the accused, the high court added that “what is relevant is quality of evidence and not quantity.” It further held that the evidence of the prosecution in matters of sexual offences needed to be considered keeping in mind broader possibilities of a case.
The accused had claimed that it had not been established that the victim was mentally challenged and that the examination of a medical officer and the police to prove he had committed an offence falling under the definition of the term rape was absent. The victim, a 25-year-old woman, was unable to move due to her condition.
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“Examination of the accused shows that he accepted the fact that THE victim is a mentally challenged woman. In this background, it does not lie with the accused whether the fact has been proved or not,” said Justice A M Badar.
The evidence of the grandmother of the woman, who was working in a field on the date of the incident along with her daughter, stated that she saw the accused committing the offence. Stating there was no probable reason with the mother and the grandmother to falsely implicate the accused, the court refused to grant him any relief.