New Delhi: Even if a woman is of easy virtues, she cannot be subjected to rape, the Supreme Court has held, saying courts have a duty to determine whether the offence has been committed or not.
"Even in cases where there is some material to show that the victim was habituated to sexual intercourse, no inference of the victim being a woman of `easy virtues` or a woman of `loose moral character` can be drawn," the court said.
"Such a woman has a right to protect her dignity and cannot be subjected to rape only for that reason.
"She has a right to refuse to submit herself to sexual intercourse to anyone and everyone because she is not a vulnerable object or prey for being sexually assaulted by anyone and everyone," the apex court said.
A bench of justices B S Chauhan and Dipak Misra passed the judgement while acquitting a man Narendra Kumar convicted for allegedly raping a housewife in his neighbourhood.
The apex court however, set aside the concurrent findings of the trial court and the Delhi High Court which had awarded seven years sentence on Kumar for the offence alleged committed at Chirag Delhi in 1999.
In the present case the bench said the victim`s version had lot of infirmities and hence the convicted deserved acquittal.
"Where evidence of the prosecutrix is found suffering from serious infirmities and inconsistencies with other material, prosecutrix making deliberate improvements on material point with a view to rule out consent on her part and there being no injury on her person even though her version may be otherwise, no reliance can be placed upon her evidence," Justice Chauhan writing the judgement said.
However, the apex court rejected Kumar`s argument that the victim was of loose character and had developed intimacy with a number of persons.