The Bombay High Court has quashed and set aside the conviction of a 19-year-old man in a rape case, holding that in this particular case, it was difficult to trust the sole testimony of the victim, a minor.
“Legally, there is no impediment in convicting an accused based on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix. However, what is required to be seen is whether the testimony of the prosecutrix inspires confidence and is trustworthy and reliable,” said Justice Revati Mohite-Dere.
“Considering the overall evidence that has come on record, as stated aforesaid, it is difficult to place reliance on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix in the peculiar facts of this case,” added Justice Mohite-Dere.
The accused was challenging a Thane session court order convicting and sentencing him to seven years’ imprisonment.
Police said that on March 10, 2009, the girl who was playing Holi at around 10 pm was dragged away to a nearby river by three accused, including the one who moved the HC. The girl alleged that this accused raped her and held her in his home for the night against her wishes. She further said that in the morning, she gave him the slip by taking his hand off her while he was asleep.
Upon her return home, she told her parents and other villagers. The two parties apparently came to some settlement, made in writing. The girl in her statement said that as the accused refused to marry her, she lodged a police complaint alleging rape and kidnapping.
Amicus Curiae Karma Vivan argued that the prosecution failed to prove that the girl was minor at the time of the incident. He further added that the settlement deed does not show that the accused had raped the girl, only that they were together that night.
The court further said, “The evidence on record suggests the appellant and prosecutrix were out together that night and prior to the incident, there were talks of their marriage and the same was known to the villagers… having regard to the evidence, the possibility of the appellant being falsely implicated for rape, cannot be ruled out, as the marriage did not materialise.”