Doctor's statement not ultimate test to prove rape, says Bombay HC

Doctor's statement not ultimate test to prove rape, says Bombay HC

The incident in this case occurred in August 1987 and the accused Suresh Jadhav was acquitted by Satara sessions court in 1989.

The prosecution case was that the victim, an eleven-year-old girl, studying in Class VII, was raped by Jadhav.

Jadhav was known to the girl's family. On the day of the incident, the victims' elder brother asked Jadhav to drop her at home on his bicycle.

The accused instead took her to his house and sexually assaulted her. But the trial court found that according to the doctor's evidence, there was no rupture of the hymen, and there were no injury marks on the girl's body.

On this basis, Jadhav was acquitted by the court following which an appeal was filed in the High Court.

In 2007, another bench of High Court reversed the decision convicting Jadhav. Jadhav challenged it before Supreme Court which directed the High Court to hear the appeal afresh.

In the ruling given on May 7, division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and S C Dharmadhikari again reversed the lower court's order, and convicted Jadhav.

The High Court said that though doctor had stated that there was no injury to girl's hymen, he himself admitted elsewhere that there could be a sexual assault without rupture of hymen.

Saying that undue reliance was placed on doctor's statement, the court observed, "Doctor's statement is not the ultimate test to prove rape."
"Statements of all others prove the guilt...other witnesses have fully corroborated victims's case."
The court also asked why the girl, at a "tender age" would conoct a false theory to frame up Jadhav.

However, making some concession for the time lapsed since the commission of crime, the High Court sentenced Jadhav to five years' rigorous imprisonment, instead of seven years which is the maximum sentence.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Jadhav.
The money would go to the victim as compensation, the High Court said.

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