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Silence over rape not proof of consent: HC

Press Trust of India, New Delhi, Oct 23 2017, 0:12 IST
Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal made the observation while rejecting a rape convict's defence that the victim's silence about the incident proved consensual sexual relations. PTI File Photo

Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal made the observation while rejecting a rape convict's defence that the victim's silence about the incident proved consensual sexual relations. PTI File Photo

The silence of a rape victim cannot be taken as proof of consent for sexual relations, the Delhi High Court has observed while upholding a man’s 10-year jail term for raping a pregnant woman.

Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal made the observation while rejecting a rape convict’s defence that the victim’s silence about the incident proved consensual sexual relations.

“The defence taken by the accused that the prosecutrix (victim) had consensual sexual relations with him which is pointed out from her silence about the incident, holds no ground, as mere silence cannot be taken as proof of consensual sexual relations as she has also stated that she was being threatened by the accused. Thus, any act of sexual intercourse in the absence of consent would amount to an act of rape,” the court observed.

A trial court had in 2015 convicted Munna, then 28 years old, and sentenced him to 10-years imprisonment for repeatedly raping a 19-year-old woman.

The high court also upheld the decision of the trial court to acquit Munna of the offences of kidnapping, saying there were inconsistencies in the woman’s statements regarding how she had reached Delhi.

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