BEWARE OF ORAL TESTIMONIES IN RAPE CASES: SUPREME COURT

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In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court has said though the oral testimony of the victim and even absence of medical report is sufficient to convict the accused, there are instances of false frame-up which should also be taken into account while deciding rape cases. The court acquitted one such accused taking note of his false frame up by a minor girl on the behest of her parents.

A bench comprising Justice R V Raveendran and Justice B S Reddy said the courts should bear in mind that false charges of rape are also not uncommon in the country. There have also been rare instances of parents persuading their gullible or obedient daughter to make a false charge of a rape either to take revenge or extort money or to get rid of financial liability.

The court acquitted one such accused, Radhu who was falsely implicated in the rape case in Madhya Pradesh. According to the allegation, on the night of January 28, 1991 the minor girl, Sumanbai, went to a shop to get some groceries. On her way to the shop, Gyarsibai, a relative, invited her to come inside her house. When she entered Gyarsibai’s house, her son Radhu, who was in a room, came out, dragged her inside the room and confined her in the room during the entire night. During the night, he sexually assaulted her. When she cried, Radhu gagged her mouth with a piece of cloth. Radhu freed her only the next morning. She went back to her house and told her mother Lalithabai about the incident. Later they informed the incident to the police.

The court noted that the case was full of discrepancies. Sumanbai’s father Mangilal was indebted to Radhu’s father Nathu, and because Nathu was demanding money, they had made the false charge of rape, to avoid repayment.
“We are satisfied that the evidence does not warrant a finding of guilt at all, and the trial court and the High Court erred in returning a finding of guilt,” said Justice Raveendran writing the verdict.

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