Victim, Sexually Active or Being of Easy Virtue Holds No Grounds to Acquit Rape Accused, Rules Kerala HC

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While hearing a rape case, the Kerala High Court ruled that an accused cannot be let off even in a scenario where the victim is sexually active or is of ‘easy virtue’.

Justice R Narayana Pisharadi while pronouncing the conviction of a man accused of raping his 16-year-old daughter and impregnating her said that the credibility of the testimony of a rape survivor will not be impacted even if she admits that she has sexual relations with another man.

The statement was made by the court after the accused contended that the girl had sexual relations with someone else, TOI reported.

Dismissing the allegations made by the accused pertaining to the character of the victim, the court in its October 11 judgment held that it is the accused who is on trial, not the victim hence the question that needs to be adjudicated is whether the accused committed rape on the victim on the occasion complained of.

The Court went on to assert that the evidence given by the survivor need not be viewed with the same amount of suspicion as that of the accused. Even if the victim is accustomed to sexual intercourse, it is not a decisive question and cannot be grounds for acquitting a rape accused, the Kerala HC maintained.

Also Read: A Village in Odisha Bans Alcohol After Incident of Sexual Harassment

 “Charged of raping his own daughter under his refuge and fortress is worse than the gamekeeper becoming a poacher,” the court was quoted saying.

Earlier, the minor had alleged that her father had repeatedly raped her leading to her pregnancy and the subsequent birth to his child. It was only after becoming pregnant that she was able to reveal the same to her mother and aunt who took her to the police, Bar and Bench reported.

Despite a delay in reporting the crime, the Court held that it cannot be used as a ritualistic formula for discarding the prosecution case and doubting its authenticity in a case such as the instant one which involves incestuous rape.

“The courts cannot overlook the fact that in sexual offenses delay in the lodging of the FIR can be due to variety of reasons particularly the reluctance of the prosecutrix or her family members to go to the police and complain about the incident which concerns the reputation of the victim and the honor of her family,” the judgment said.

Upon registration of complaint by the daughter with the police, the trial court found the accused guilty of offenses punishable under Sections 376 and 506(ii) of the Indian Penal Code and also under Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and sentenced him accordingly. It was also pointed out that DNA evidence proved that the father was indeed responsible for the pregnancy.

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