Rape charges by married women need harsher scrutiny: HCDec 25, 2013, 04.19AM IST TNN
KOCHI: Pointing out that in normal circumstances the testimony of a rape survivor would suffice for conviction, the Kerala high court ruled that courts should, however, insist on corroboration if the survivor is a married woman and there isn't enough medical evidence.
The court was considering an appeal by Baburaj K of Aroor, who was convicted for raping a married woman. In his judgment last Thursday, Justice P Bhavadasan said, "The courts have been cautioned that in the case of a married woman, if she comes forward with an allegation of rape, and when the medical evidence is not of much help at all, it may be proper for the court to insist for corroboration. However, that too depends upon the facts of each case."
The accused in the case considered by the HC was convicted to 10 years rigorous imprisonment by a sessions court for raping his neighbour, a 40-year-old married woman with two kids. At the trial court, the accused claimed that following a rumour in their locality that he had an illicit relationship with the victim, he had been falsely implicated in the case.
The HC set aside the conviction citing discrepancies in the victim's oral testimony and hospital records. "It (victim's testimony) should not leave any doubt in the mind of the court as to what is spoken to by the victim is true. It is possible that there may not be any corroborative evidence or medical evidence in support of the allegation of rape. But the position is different when a married woman comes forward with an allegation of rape and no satisfactory explanation is offered for the delay in lodging the complaint. Unlike in the case of a virgin victim, the case of a married woman stands on a different footing," the HC judgment said.