The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that rape survivor must not be harassed by asking her for corroborative evidence to prove her allegations if her testimony is trustworthy.
According to media reports, the apex court on Thursday overruled an earlier judgement by Himachal Pradesh High Court in the matter and held that the testimony of a victim in cases of sexual offences is vital and accused can be convicted solely on the basis of her statements.
A bench of Justices AK Sikri and AM Sapre said that courts could sought corroboration of her statements only in rarest of rare case and when there was compelling reasons to do so.
According to a report in Times of India, the bench said, "Seeking corroboration to a statement before relying upon the same as a rule, in such cases, would literally amount to adding insult to injury. The deposition of the prosecutrix has, thus, to be taken as a whole. Needless to reiterate that the victim of rape is not an accomplice and her evidence can be acted upon without corroboration. She stands at a higher pedestal than an injured witness does."
Justice Sikri, who wrote the judgment for the bench said that evidence of the girl or the woman who complains of rape or sexual molestation should not be viewed with "the aid of spectacles fitted with lenses tinged with doubt, disbelief or suspicion".
"If the court finds it difficult to accept her version, it may seek corroboration from some evidence which lends assurance to her version. To insist on corroboration, except in the rarest of rare cases, is to equate one who is a victim of the lust of another with an accomplice to a crime and thereby insult womanhood. It would be adding insult to injury to tell a woman that her claim of rape will not be believed unless it is corroborated in material particulars, as in the case of an accomplice to a crime," it said.