“Non-Rupture Of Minor’s Hymen Wouldn’t Rule Out Case Of Rape”, Upholds Conviction In 5 Yr Old Girl’s Rape Case: In Calcutta High Court

The non-rupture of a minor child’s hymen would not entirely rule out a case of rape, the Calcutta High Court noted in upholding a man’s conviction for raping a 5-year-old girl.

In Azad Ali Saha v. State of West Bengal (C.R.A. 513 of 2013), the Bench of Honorable Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice Ananya Bandyopadhyay made the following observations in light of the case’s facts, circumstances, and evidence: “Injuries on the victim’s vulva and inner thighs categorically indicate rape, according to a combined reading of the medical and legal evidence in the case. It only takes a little penetration to qualify as rape. The non-hymen as noted by PW 11 is to be evaluated in light of the aforementioned legal proposition. Therefore, the absence of hymen rupture in a minor child would not completely rule out rape.”

The bench therefore concluded that the medical and legal evidence supported the minor’s account of the rape and established the prosecution’s case beyond a shadow of a doubt. As a result, the Court upheld the appellant’s conviction and sentence.

Facts of the Case:

The current appeal was filed in opposition to the judgment rendered by the relevant Sessions Court, which found the appellant guilty of the offense punishable under Section 376 (2) (f) of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to ten years of solitary confinement, a fine of Rs. 2,000, and an additional six months of simple imprisonment if he failed to pay the fine.

In essence, the prosecution claimed that the five-year-old victim used to live by herself in the village with her mother. Their neighbor, the appellant, visited the victim’s home on March 22, 2007, offered the child chocolates, took off his lungi, forced the victim to lie on the lungi spread out on the floor, and then they both committed rape.

The victim’s mother had gone outside at that point to get water from a nearby pump. When she came back, she discovered the appellant raping her daughter. The appellant ran off after she cried out in protest.

Despite numerous attempts, no FIR was ever filed for the crime, which occurred in March 2007. It wasn’t until the victim’s mother complained to the West Bengal Commission for Women that a complaint was received in June 2007 and the criminal case was finally launched.

The prosecution cross-examined 16 witnesses during the trial and presented a number of documents. Following the trial, the trial judge found the appellant guilty and sentenced him to the aforementioned punishment in the impugned judgment and order.

Court’s Findings:

The Court first considered the tragic story of the five-year-old girl and her family being harassed while they were forced to run from one law enforcement official to another in order to initiate legal action against the appellant/convict.

In this regard, the Court also disregarded the appellant’s argument regarding a delay in filing the FIR because, as the Court noted, the delay in filing the FIR was properly justified.

“The complaints made on behalf of the appellant do not undermine the prosecution’s case regarding the local police administration’s indifference to the prompt investigation of a child rape case and the ominous atmosphere that prevailed in the village that compelled the family to seek refuge elsewhere. These circumstances seem to have been established and adequately explain why the F.I.R. was not filed sooner “said the Court.

The court also noted that the victim’s mother, PW 1, supported her account. The Court determined that it was justified for neighbors to become hostile, highlighting the fact that the victim’s family had to leave their home because of the hostile environment that prevailed in the village. It also had a negative effect on the nearby witnesses.

The doctor who first treated the victim, PW 16, testified that he discovered injuries on her vulva as well as abrasions on the inside of her thighs. This evidence was taken into consideration by the court. He had noted that there was a possible rape case in the referral card.

In light of this, the Court declared that the medical and legal evidence submitted for review supported the minor’s account of the rape and established the prosecution’s case beyond a reasonable doubt. As a result, the appeal was denied.

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Judgement Reviewed By Manju Molakalapalli.

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