New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the delay in lodging an FIR in a rape case is not of much "significance" as the victim has to muster courage to come out in open and expose herself in a "conservative social milieu".
"In rapes cases the delay in filing the FIR by the prosecutrix or by the parents in all circumstance is not of significance. The authorities of this court have granted adequate protection/allowance in that aspect regard being had to the trauma suffered, the agony and anguish that creates the turbulence in the mind of the victim, to muster the courage to expose oneself in a conservative social milieu.
"Sometimes the fear of social stigma and on occasions the availability of medical treatment to gain normalcy and above all psychological inner strength to undertake such a legal battle," a bench of justices Dipak Misra and NV Ramana said.
The observations came while hearing an appeal filed Md Ali against the judgement of Allahabad High Court which had awarded 10 years rigorous imprisonment for kidnapping and raping a 14-year-old girl in 1996.
The apex court, however, acquitted the accused in the case
Saying, "there can be no iota of doubt that on the basis of the sole testimony of the prosecutrix, if it is unimpeachable and beyond reproach, a conviction can be based.
"In the case at hand, the trial Judge as well as the High Court have persuaded themselves away with this principle without appreciating the acceptability and reliability of the testimony of the witness," it said.