SC sees rape in different light

Apex court holds that conviction possible even without corroboration

SC sees rape in different light

A Bench of Justices J M Panchal and Deepak Verma said in a judgment that violation of a woman would be considered rape even if there is slightest penetration that does not cause rupture of the hymen. The Bench’s observations in the judgment could have far-reaching medico-legal implications in cases relating to rape.

The apex court said that minor discrepancies like the prosecution’s non-examination of a doctor cannot be a ground for giving the benefit of the doubt to a person who is accused of rape.

Referring to a particular doctor who initially conducted the medical examination of the prosecutrix, the court said: “That alone is not sufficient to discard the prosecution story. Corroboration is not the sine qua non (mandatory) for conviction in a rape case”.
The apex court, while dismissing the appeal of the convict, Wahid Khan, also held that in rape cases even the slightest penetration that does not rupture the victim’s hymen or other parts of her genitalia amounted to rape.

“Sexual intercourse...in law is held to mean the slightest degree of penetration of the vulva by the penis with or without emission of semen.

“It is, therefore, quite possible to commit legally the offence of rape without producing any injury to the genitals or leaving any seminal stains,”  the Bench said, quoting medical jurisprudence.

Sufficient evidence

In the case the Bench heard, the defence took the plea that the victim’s hymen was not ruptured and that the doctor, who examined the victim, was not questioned by the prosecution during trial.

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