‘No corroboration required in rape victim's claim’



New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that in rape cases there was no need for corroboration and conviction can be imposed on the sole statement of the victim as her testimony cannot be looked at with suspicion.

"It is a trite law that a woman, who is the victim of sexual assault, is not an accomplice to the crime but is a victim of another person's lust. The prosecution stands at a higher pedestal than an injured witness as she suffers from emotional injury.

"Therefore, her evidence need not be tested with the same amount of suspicion as that of an accomplice. The Indian Evidence Act nowhere says that her evidence cannot be accepted unless it is corroborated in material particulars," the apex court said.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan passed the ruling while dismissing an appeal filed by Mohd Imran Khan and Jamal Ahmed challenging their conviction for rape of a minor girl about 22 years ago.

The defence had argued the victim's statement cannot be relied upon as she had eloped with the accused.

The apex court also chided the then investigating officer Puran Singh of the national capital's Vinay Nagar police station for attempting to favour the convicts by turning hostile and claiming that the birth certificate record of the victim initially presented in the court was not valid.

"In respect of the date of birth, we are of the view that Puran Singh, IO, unfortunately made an attempt to help the accused/appellants, though in the examination-in-chief the witness has deposed that the birth certificate providing the date of birth as 2-9-1974 was genuine.

"Be that as it may, by now Puran Singh might have retired as the incident itself occurred 22 years ago. Therefore, we do not want to say anything further in respect of his conduct," Justice Chauhan writing the judgement said.

PTI