Testimony of a victim of sexual assault has to be treated at par with the testimony of an injured witness

The law with regard to the appreciation of the testimony of a prosecutrix is well-settled. In State of Maharashtra Vs. Chandraprakash Kewalchand Jain, it was held that the testimony of a victim of sexual assault has to be treated at par with the testimony of an injured witness.

In State of Uttar Pradesh Vs. Pappu alias Yunus and Another, the Supreme Court held that even in a case where it is shown that the prosecutrix is a girl of easy virtue or a girl habituated to sexual intercourse, it may not be a ground to absolve the accused from the charge of rape.

In Mahila Vinod Kumari Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh, the Supreme Court held that so far as sexual offences are concerned, sanctity is attached to the statement of the victim. It was observed that evidence of the prosecutrix alone is sufficient for the purpose of conviction if it is found to be reliable, cogent and credible.

The anonymity of the victim:

That in Delhi Domestic Working Women’s Forum Vs. Union of India (UOI) and Others, , the three Judges Bench of the Supreme Court while issuing guidelines for protection of the victims of sexual assault directed that in rape trials anonymity of the victim must be maintained. These directions were reiterated in several subsequent decisions including State of Punjab Vs. Gurmit Singh and Others, and S. Ramakrishna Vs. The State rep. by the Public Prosecutor, High Court of A.P. Hyderabad, . This Court notices that in the number of cases as also, in this case, the directions issued by the Supreme Court are not being adhered to by the Trial Courts. The prosecutrix’s name has been mentioned in the judgment, at several places. We would like to emphasise that in order to save any embarrassment to the victim of sexual assault the Trial Courts have to maintain the anonymity of the victim by not disclosing her name, address or other particulars. The Registrar General of this Court is directed to issue a Circular that the direction of the Supreme Court must be complied with in letter and spirit.


Categories: Criminal, EVIDENCE

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