Citing “duress” faced by one of the witnesses as one of the grounds, a special women’s court Monday rejected the discharge plea of a city doctor in a rape case.
Dr Rustom Soonawala faces charges under sections 376 and 376 (D) of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly “taking advantage of his position and raping a woman in that hospital”. The victim alleged that she was raped by the doctor at his Carter Road clinic where she had gone on May 17, 2014 to seek treatment of TB. The complaint said Soonawala had asked her husband, a tailor, to wait outside.
The witness in question was the doctor’s former secretary at the clinic, whose statement in the chargesheet claimed that Soonawala’s sister had asked her to give a favourable statement to the court.
Special Judge A S Shende observed that believing this statement of the secretary, the statement of the prosecutrix (victim) could not be falsified.
The secretary is one of the three witnesses in the case, with the other two being the ‘victim’ and her husband. Arguing for the discharge plea, advocate Harshad Ponda had emphasised the importance of a negative CA report in the case, which concluded that the semen found on the bedsheet of the clinic did not match with that of Soonawala, and the DNA tests on hair and skin samples of the complainant and Soonawala did not suggest an intercourse had taken place.
The special judge observed that the new amended rape law (IPC 375) said ejaculation and penetration was not essential to prove rape and that at the current stage of the case the victim’s statement was sufficient. “Admitted that there was a negative CA report,” the judge said.