'Unsupported account of rape victim can't lead to conviction'

It shall be "highly unsafe" to record a conviction on the sole testimony of the victim "who has given two different versions of the incident", Additional Sessions Judge Arun Kumar Arya said. "The gaps in evidence and the entirely different versions of incident (given by the girl) make the prosecution case highly doubtful and requires independent corroboration," the court said, absolving accused Mohd Raquib, a resident of south Delhi, of kidnapping and rape charges.

The court, however, said the conviction in a rape case can be based on the "solitary statement" of the victim if the same is "trustworthy and inspires confidence". An FIR was lodged at New Friends Colony police station on May 20, 2007 by the girl, a major. She alleged that the accused, her neighbour, had lured her away to Jaipur on the pretext of marriage and raped her several times for seven months during the "illegal" confinement.

The complainant, during the trial, however, testified that the accused met her in a market in the capital and asked her to come with him as her mother was ill. Later, she became unconscious after smelling a handkerchief and when she regained consciousness, she found herself in Jaipur, the girl deposed.

Discussing the flip-flops of the complainant, the court said the girl was a consenting party. "The conduct of the prosecutrix (girl) from the beginning till her recovery shows that she was a consenting party ... she stayed at Jaipur for a period of about seven months but did not raise any protest from the beginning till her recovery," it said.

Citing a Supreme Court judgement, the court said the girl had "sufficient opportunity" to either run away or complain to the neighbours about the alleged incident. Two diametrically opposite statements of the girl made the case doubtful and the accused cannot be convicted unless the alleged victim's versions are corroborated, it said.

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