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Minor discrepancies in the testimonies cannot render them unreliable: Delhi High Court

Testimonies by victims of hideous crimes cannot be rendered unreliable due to existence of minor discrepancies in their statements. The High Court bench consisting of J. Vibhu Bakhru in the matter of Vijay v. State (G.N.C.T. of Delhi) [CRL. A. 969/2017], convicted the accused under Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).

The appellant was charged of barging in the jhuggi of the victim and assaulting the prosecutrix and was an FIR was registered under Section 376/377 of IPC and Section 6, 7 and 8 of the POCSO Act. The statement of the prosecutrix confirming the incident was recorded under Section 164 of the Cr.P.C. and she also stated that the accused had been following her for the past few days. Upon examination, no injury marks were found on the prosecutrix and her mother refused to get her internal examination conducted. The accused was convicted under Section 6 of POCSO and was sentenced to serve 10 years of rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs. 10,000/-. Further that any default in payment of fine would lead to an additional period of simple imprisonment for 8 months. the accused filed an appeal before the High Court and the counsel contended that the appellant had been falsely implicated and relied upon the discrepancies in the statements given by the prosecutrix.

The High Court examined the evidence and found that the testimony of the prosecutrix cannot be considered as unreliable. The court held that “Considering the manner in which the offence was committed, the inconsistency regarding whether he had inserted his finger in the vagina or had felt it, would not be of much relevance. In any event this Court is of the view that the said inconsistency does not in any manner raise any doubts as to the allegations made by the prosecutrix”.

 Further the court added “The contention that he had been falsely implicated because the name of the accused was not mentioned to the concerned doctor who had examined the prosecutrix, is also unpersuasive. It is material to note that the prosecutrix was taken for the medical examination by the concerned police official and her mother. There is no reason to believe that her mother knew the name of the appellant and it appears that the mother had narrated the incident to the doctor”, and dismissed the appeal finding no merit in the same.

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