Rape convictions can rest on victim’s testimony: HC

Observing that conviction in rape cases can solely rest on the testimony of the victim if it inspires confidence, the Bombay High Court has upheld the life sentence awarded to a 42-year-old man for raping his step-daughter for over a year.

A division bench of justices V K Tahilramani and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi last week dismissed an appeal filed by the man challenging his conviction and sentence handed down to him by a lower court, saying no woman will make any false allegation which has the impact of ruining her own reputation.

According to the prosecution, the convict had raped the victim on various occasions between 2003 to 2004. The victim who was then 14 years became pregnant and one day she complained of stomach pain. Her mother took her to hospital where she delivered a baby boy.

When the mother questioned the victim, she revealed that she had been raped by her step-father. Following this, a complaint was lodged in December 2005.

DNA tests also proved he was the child’s father.

“This being a case of sexual offence, the evidence of the victim is of paramount significance. If her evidence inspires confidence in the judicial mind, then the conviction can rest on her sole testimony also,” the court said.

“The nature of the offence itself is such that no woman or, in this case, an adolescent girl will make any false allegation, which has the impact and effect of ruining her own reputation also,” the bench said.

The court while dismissing the appeal observed, “Considering the fact that the appellant, who was step-father of the victim, has betrayed the faith and trust of the child, the maximum punishment of life imprisonment, as imposed by the trial court, for the offence punishable under Section 376 of the IPC also, does not call for any interference.”

“The DNA report conclusively proves that the child was born from the appellant, leaving no spec of doubt that it was appellant and none else, who has committed forcible sexual intercourse with her,” the court said.