SC acquits man of rape charges as victim turns hostile

New Delhi, 21 Oct : The Supreme Court has acquitted a man convicted, fifteen years ago, by trial court for raping a woman, whose statement did not appear trustworthy.

The apex court set aside Andhra Pradesh High Court judgement, passed in 2011, along with trial court verdict, passed in 2004, which convicted the man. Acquitting the man, the court cited victim has changed her stand frequently, and she was literally blowing hot and cold.

The man was sentenced to 10 years in jail for raping the woman in December 2000 when she was returning home. According to the police, the victim informed her husband about the incident and an FIR was lodged. The man had moved the apex court against the High Court order.

A bench of justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant observed the man was convicted by the trial court simply relying on statement recorded by the police, and recording of statement on oath was avoided.

“It is the statement made on oath in the court which has to be the foundation of conviction. No doubt, it is true that conviction in a case of rape can be based on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix. However, there is one caveat, which is, that the statement should inspire confidence”, observed the court.

The top court observed the two witnesses, husband and wife, turned hostile during the recording of their statement at the trial stage, and the victim also could not identify the accused.

“The conviction of an accused cannot be based on a statement of the witnesses recorded under section 161 CrPC (examination of witness by police) or even under section 154 CrPC (information in cognizable cases) especially when the witnesses resile from their earlier statements…,” observed the court acquitting the man.

/IANS

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