The Calcutta High Court on Friday observed that the “evidence of a victim need not be tested with the same amount of suspicion as that of an accomplice”.
A bench of Justices Shekhar B. Saraf and Kesang Doma Bhutia noted that the evidence of victim of sexual assault is enough for conviction.
“A girl who is the victim of sexual assault, is not an accomplice to the crime but is a victim of another person’s lust, therefore, her evidence need not be tested with the same amount of suspicion as that of an accomplice. Maintaining that the sole and trust worthy evidence of a woman, who is a victim of a sexual offence, is enough to find her assailant guilty. An accused guilty for committing of offence of rape, the solitary evidence of the prosecutrix is sufficient, provided the same inspires confidence and appears to be absolutely trustworthy, unblemished and should be of Sterling quality.”
The bench further noted that even if the mother of the victim of sexual assault changes her statement, the testimony of a minor sexual assault victim must be appreciated and can be enough to secure a conviction.
A Sessions Court had convicted the appellant for committing an offence under Section 6 of the POCSO Act read with Section 376 of the IPC (Rape). The appellant, who is the step father of the minor victim, had raped the victim multiple times whenever her mother and her sister used to be away from home.
The victim told her mother about missing her period, the mother of the victim then rushed her to a nearby hospital where on medical examination she was found to be six months pregnant.
The mother and the step father of the victim admitted her to Nirmala Shishu Bhawan, Port Blair (A children’s home for abandoned kids) on June 8, 2017.
The Sister-in-charge of the Children’s Home found that the minor victim was impregnated by her own step father. She informed the concerned authority ie. the Nodal officer of Social Welfare Department, who in turn informed the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), Port Blair.
The DCPU and a lady police official of Women Police Cell, Port Blair obtained a written complaint signed by the victim in which she claimed that it was her step father who impregnated her. The complaint was forwarded to the police station for taking necessary legal action against the father of the girl.
An FIR was registered on 5 June, 2017 against the step father of the girl under section 5(j)(ii)/6 of POCSO Act (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) read with section 376 IPC (rape).
The accused Ram Sevak Lohar was sentenced to fourteen years of imprisonment by the court.
“This court sets aside the sentence imposed by the trial court being void and illegal and hereby sentences the accused Ram Sevak Lohar for committing punishable offence under Section 6 of the POCSO Act read with Section 376 IPC with rigorous imprisonment for fourteen years and fine of ₹50,000/- and in default R.I. for another six months.”
The court also questioned the conduct of the minor victim’s mother and for not lodging any FIR against her husband even after knowing that he was behind the sexual assault of her daughter.
“She was very much aware of the involvement of her second husband of few months in the crime and knew him to be the real perpetrator and thereby she wanted to give protection to him or she wanted to hush up the entire incident just to save the family from being ostracised in the local community and to save her second marriage, therefore, did not bother to lodge any FIR or find out from the daughter about the real culprit.”