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Sole testimony of the prosecutrix can be relied upon to convict the accused: Delhi High Court

The sole testimony of the prosecutrix, if it inspires confidence, can be the basis for conviction of the accused. Moreover, presumption to be drawn as to absence of consent in certain prosecution for rape. This was held by Hon’ble Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri in the case of Ranjeet Naik Vs. State (NCT of Delhi) [CRL.A. 615/2020] on the 12th of August 2021, before the Hon’ble high court of Delhi at New Delhi.

The brief facts of the case are, hat prosecutrix namely ‘RS’ has alleged commission of rape and stated that she was the mother of three children, residing with her family in a tenanted premise and was doing the work of house maid. She further alleged that on 15.06.2016 she along with her niece at around 9:00 pm went to Nasirpur Subzi Mandi to purchase vegetables. After purchasing the vegetables when they were returning to their house, she observed that one person was chasing them through out from the mandi itself. As soon as she reached the Buddha Jayanti Park, the accused obstructed her way and stopped her. It was around 9:30-10:00 pm, by intimidating her, he forcibly took her behind the wall of the park. He gaged her mouth, forcibly committed rape upon her against her wishes. She somehow got herself released from the clutches of the accused, she reunited to her niece and informed her about the incident. They started moving towards their house. When they were going to their houses, complainant again noticed that accused was still chasing her. When they reached at Shani Mandir near Dasrath Pur, there she met Rajesh husband of her niece and informed him about the entire incident who made a call at 100 number and accused was also apprehended from the spot and handed over to the police. On the basis of the allegations made by the prosecutrix in her complaint, she also got her statement recorded by the Ld. MM u/s 164 Cr. PC where she alleged commission of rape. After completion of investigation, charge-sheet was filed against accused against commission of offences

The learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the consent of the prosecutrix is apparent from the fact that neither in the Subzi Mandi nor on the way, she raised any alarm even after noticing that the appellant was following them. In this regard, it is noted that the prosecutrix deposed that on the day of incident, she had noticed the appellant following her when they were going to Subzi Mandi. He continued to follow them even when they were returning back. She deposed that she didn’t raise a hue and cry as she believed that the appellant also had gone to the market and was returning from there. Furthermore, even at the time of incident, the prosecutrix did not raise any alarm, which is indicative of consensual sex. The prosecutrix however submitted that on 15.06.2016 when she was returning from Nasirpur Subzi Mandi market along with her niece ‘G’. she noticed that the appellant was chasing them from the market. When they reached near Budhia Park, it was about 10 p.m. The appellant forcibly brought her near the park and made physical relations with her against her will. During this time, the niece of the prosecutrix was standing near the gate of the park. When she came out of the park, the appellant continued to chase her till Shani Mandir where ‘R’ (husband of ‘G’) was sleeping. The prosecutrix woke him up and told him about the appellant. ‘R’ made a call to the police at 100 number.

The learned judge heard the submissions of both the parties and relied on the judgement in the case of State of Himachal Pradesh v. Manga Singh reported as (2019) 16 SCC 759, wherein it was held that, “The conviction can be sustained on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix, if it inspires confidence. The conviction can be based solely on the solitary evidence of the prosecutrix and no corroboration be required unless there are compelling reasons which necessitate the courts to insist for corroboration of her statement. Corroboration of the testimony of the prosecutrix is not a requirement of law; but a guidance of prudence under the given facts and circumstances. Minor contradictions or small discrepancies should not a be a ground for throwing the evidence of the prosecutrix. It is well settled by a catena of decisions of the Supreme Court that corroboration is not a sine qua non for conviction in a rape case. If the evidence of the victim does not suffer from any basic infirmity and the ‘probabilities factor’ does not render it unworthy of credence. As a general rule, there is no reasons to insist on corroboration except from medical evidence. However, having regard to the circumstances of the case, medical evidence may not be available. In such cases, solitary testimony of the prosecutrix would be sufficient to base the conviction, if it inspires the confidence of the court”.

In the present case, the prosecutrix had consistently stated that the appellant had committed rape upon her against her wish. The appellant has failed to cause a dent on her testimony which has remained unimpeachable. On a conspectus of the entire evidence that has come on record, this Court is of the opinion that the testimony of the prosecutrix about the stalking and offence of rape committed by the appellant upon her not only inspires confidence, but is also held to be consistent, reliable and admissible. Thus applying the rule mentioned in the above case, the court dismissed the appeal and also ordered compensation to the victim under the victim compensation scheme.

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