The Madras High Court said courts must always trust the testimony of child rape victims and ignore “misconceptions” that they lie under oath.
Justice S Vaidyanathan said, “in cases of rape victims, the Court has to believe what is reported by the child. There are misconceptions that children lie or that they are tutored by parents to make false complaints against others. Such myths should not affect the manner in which the Court responds to cases of child sexual abuse.”
The high court made the observation while hearing a case in which a man had sexually assaulted a five-year-old girl in 2011.
According to a report published in the Bar and Bench, a trial court sentenced the man, Ganapathy, to ten years of rigorous imprisonment and fined him Rs 2,000 fine. Ganapathy challenged the trial court’s conviction and sentence on various grounds, including a two-day delay in lodging a police complaint and witnesses turning hostile in the case.
However, Justice Vaidyanathan overruled several arguments made by the defence counsel and said, ” “…one cannot expect the victim to rush to the Police Station with a complaint, because, rape of a girl will have an adverse effect not only on the body of the victim but also on her modesty.”
The court said it took note of the medical examiner’s testimony that “the pain suffered by the victim while getting up, cannot be imitated”.
The judge also found no merit that the rape case had been foisted on the accused as a result of enmity with the child’s parents.
The court had dismissed the appeal and upheld the trial court’s conviction and sentence for rape, while also noting that partial penetration is rape.
“Undoubtedly, a rape on a child is graver than a rape on an adult woman. Thus, the penetrative sexual assault by penetrating the penis into the vagina is nothing but a rape as defined under Section 375 I.P.C…,” the court said.