In a POCSO matter, Supreme Court held that the sole and trustworthy evidence of a woman who is a victim of sexual assault, is enough to find the offender guilty.
The three judge bench of the apex court led by Justice Ashok Bhushan noted, “A woman, who is the victim of sexual assault, is not an accomplice to the crime but is a victim of another person’s lust and, therefore, her evidence need not be tested with the same amount of suspicion as that of an accomplice.”
The court was hearing a matter of sexual assault of a 13-year old girl from Tamil Nadu. The assailant was convicted under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Madras High Court had upheld the trial verdict of guilt based on the evidence of the victim though the mother of the victim had turned hostile.
Justice M R Shah mentioned about the long train of precedents from the top Supreme Court which all have held that evidence of the victim of sexual assault is enough for conviction in a sexual offence matter except there are some serious contradictions.
He further added, “Cases of violence against women should be treated with “utmost sensitivity”. Minor contradictions in her testimony should not derail an otherwise water-tight case.”
Quoting from a past verdict, Justice Shah stated that the rapist degrades the very soul of the helpless female.
“To hold an accused guilty for commission of an offence of rape, the solitary evidence of the prosecutrix is sufficient, provided the same inspires confidence and appears to be absolutely trustworthy, unblemished and should be of sterling quality,” said the order.