Sole Testimony of the rape victim is enough for holding the accused liable for rape, however, the prosecutrix have to prove evidence beyond reasonable doubt for holding the defense untrue. If the testimony is belied by medical and scientific evidence then the case of the prosecutrix will not be upheld. This auspicious judgment was passed by the High Court of Sikkim in the matter of SHRI SHAJAL RAI ALIAS ADRIAN V. STATE OF SIKKIM [CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 07 of 2020] by Honourable Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari and Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan.
The appeal case was filed against the conviction and sentence by the Sessions Trial Judge, Fast Track Court, East & North Sikkim, Gangtok under 376(1) of the Indian Penal Code.
The learned Trial Court had earlier found that the charges under Sections 365 as well 506 of the Indian Penal Code were not proved from the evidence brought by the prosecution but they relied upon the testimony of the prosecutrix and convicted the accused and directed him to undergo the sentence.
However, the accused presented a defense that the FIR registered was sent to the Magistrate after delay and under non-compliance of Section 157 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Additionally, it was argued that the prosecution has left so many lacunas in the case concerning the facts of the crime since the DNA test was not conducted neither the vehicle was seized and sent for RFSL examination so that the investigation reports could substantiate the allegation of rape. Additionally, he also argued before the High Court that the rape case was either a case of consent or otherwise of false implication, and for these reasons, prompt information had not been given to the police station.
The Court after going through the witness statements and the statement of the prosecutrix observed that “The sole testimony of the prosecutrix is not safe to rely upon and its corroboration from the medical evidence may have relevance to prove the allegation of rape” thus refuting the application of the SC laid principle in Dinesh Jaiswal vs. State of Madhya Pradesh of conviction solely based on the statement of prosecutrix.
The Court emphasised that “to record a finding that the charge so framed has been proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt. Thereafter onus shifts upon the accused and the Court could see the defense put up by the accused while convicting or acquitting the accused.”
The Court observed that due to the unnatural conduct of family and lack of corroboration of other evidence a doubt about the improbability of the story of the prosecution is created. The obvious differences in the statements of the witnesses are not sufficient to prove the story of the prosecution proved beyond any reasonable doubt.
Additionally, the Court stated that, “The sole testimony of the prosecutrix is not safe to rely upon and its corroboration from the medical evidence may have relevance to prove the allegation of rape” and later added that since no incriminating material was found during medical examination it is apparent that there are several lacunas in the prosecution case and hence observed that, “All these facts also create doubts on prosecution case and the manner in which investigation has been conducted. All these lacunas are collectively fatal to the case of the prosecution in proving the guilt of the accused.”
Thus, the Court held that “the findings and judgment of the Trial Court to prove the allegation of commission of rape is perverse and illegal and hence liable to be set aside.”