Court upheld 10 years imprisonment awarded to the accused for committing rape, on the sole testimony of 5 years old victim

Delhi High Court: In an another horrifying incident of rape, where a 5 year old girl was subjected to rape by the accused, the Court upheld the sentence of 10 years imprisonment under Section 376(2) (f) of the Penal Code. The Court in this case discussed the issue, whether a conviction can be recorded on the sole testimony of a child witness and held that the court has to ensure that child witness is reliable and if the witness’s testimony is found to be trustworthy then conviction can be recorded solely on that basis, the Court cited Supreme Court decision in Virendra v. State of U.P. (2008) 16 SCC 582 which said that Indian Evidence Act, 1872 does not prescribe any particular age as a determinative factor to treat a witness to be a competent witness and child of tender years can be allowed to testify if the child has the ability to understand questions and give rational answers. Therefore evidence by child witness is not required to be rejected per se, but as a rule of prudence, court must be convinced about the quality and reliability of the same.

In instant case, the counsel for petitioner,.Mr. D.B. Yadav contended that judgment of the lower court suffer from infirmities as the material witnesses that is parents of the victim were not examined by the prosecution and on the other hand, the counsel for respondent, Fizani Hussain submitted that testimony of the prosecutrix alone is sufficient to sustain the conviction.

The Court finally held that the testimony of the prosecutrix is sufficient for the conviction of accused and in the present case; testimony is corroborated along with medical as well scientific evidence which has helped the prosecution to establish its case beyond reasonable doubt. While affirming the decision of lower court over the quantum of sentence, the Court said that victim was only 5 year old when rape was committed on her, therefore, the accused deserves the severest punishment possible.Mithu Rai v. State, 2015 SCC OnLine Del 7289, decided on 10.02.2015

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