Author: Dhruv Khurana, Student at ICFAI Law School, Hyderabad.
Citation: 1996 SCC (2) 384
Bench: Anand, A.S. (J)
Date of Judgement: 16 January 1996
Original Copy: View
Issue In Question:
- Whether the petitioner’s evidence can be considered valid, according to her story, under Indian Evidence Act, 1872?
Background of the Case:
- The petitioner, in the present case, was 16 years old, who was in class 10th at that time. According to her, she was going to visit her maternal uncle. When she was 100 karmas away from her school, a car stopped near her and the respondents were sitting inside the car.
- Ranjit Singh (Respondent no. 1) came out of the car and pushed her inside the car. Jagjit Singh (Respondent no. 2) covered her mouth with his hands and Gurmit Singh (Respondent no. 3) threatened to kill her. Respondents drove the petitioner near the tube well owned by Ranjit Singh.
- They forcefully compelled her to consume alcohol and made the petitioner drunk. Gurmit Singh forcefully removed her clothes and they all raped her. They again raped her at night. The respondents dropped her off near the place she was abducted from.
- The girl’s father called the village sarpanch and the trail was held invalid and no relief was provided and after that her father filed a police complaint. She was taken to the medical health centre from the police station, where a medical examination was held. There was clear evidence of rape as found by performing medical examination on her.
- Doctor gave salwar samples to the police along with 5 slides of vaginal marks and pubic hair of petitioners as the evidence. They also found that the respondents were fit to perform sexual intercourse and it was found out that the semen was found on the petitioner’s salwar and also on her pubic hair. The police charged respondents under Sections 363, 366, 368 and 376 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
- In the trial court, the respondents were carelessly acquitted and the petitioner challenged the appeal in the Supreme Court of India.
- The apex court held that the court should be sensitive in these types of matters. If the court is self-assured with the evidence and also if the person is found guilty of rape then punishment will be given to the accused and the petitioner will be compensated.
- The evidence of the victim will be always taken into priority and High Courts are required to hold the rape cases in-camera rather than in the open courts according to the Section 327(2) of the CrPc.
- It was also held that a lady judge should be present for the trial in these types of cases, so that the victim can give her statement with ease and this would enable the proper discharge of duties of the court with more efficiency and effectiveness.
- The court held the petitioner does not have the wrong motive to falsely accuse a person so, in that case her evidence would be valid.
- In the present case, the court said that the evidence in these types of cases is not important but it is important to provide proper relief. The Indian Evidence Act does not say that the victim’s evidence cannot be accepted unless the evidence gives support to the story of the victim. Also, according to the same act, the victim is also considered as evidence.
- In addition, more care and proper caution should be taken in such cases. The apex court said the court should work more efficiently and proper judgment should be delivered with proper conscientiousness. Also, there should not be any improper motive to wrongly accuse a person.
- The apex court stated that the present case tells us that more credibility should be given to the rape cases so the court should take it seriously and ensure smooth and efficient flow of the judgement. The court should realize their burden and help the victim by using efficient working of law.
- The court said that the rapist not only ruined the victim’s privacy but also caused them heavy psychological damage, which can destroy the victim’s life, so it is the court’s duty to reinforce the evidence submitted by the victim so they can give justice to the victim by the efficient work of the court.