Nobody has the right to rape a woman even if she is habituated to sexual intercourse, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that nobody has the right to rape a woman even if a woman is of easy virtue, while setting aside a Delhi high court verdict that acquitted four men of rape in a 1997 case.

FP Staff October 31, 2018 12:35:19 IST
Nobody has the right to rape a woman even if she is habituated to sexual intercourse, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that a woman has a "right to refuse to submit herself to sexual intercourse to anyone" even if she is habituated to sexual intercourse and that no inference on her "character" is permissible from that, while setting aside a Delhi High Court verdict that acquitted four men of rape in a 1997 case.

"Even in cases where there is some material to show that the victim was habituated to sexual intercourse, no inference like the victim being a woman of ‘loose moral character' is permissible to be drawn from that circumstance alone," said a bench of justices R Banumathi and Indira Banerjee.

The bench also ordered an inquiry against the police officers who investigated the case. "Even assuming that the prosecutrix was of easy virtue, she has a right to refuse to submit herself to sexual intercourse to anyone," said the court, reported Bar and Bench.

Nobody has the right to rape a woman even if she is habituated to sexual intercourse says Supreme Court

File image of the Supreme Court of India. PTI

The case was that the accused entered the jhuggi of the complainant at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Jhuggi Camp, Katwaria Sarai in Delhi on 28 July 1997 and raped her.

Charges were then framed against the accused under Section 376(2)(g) of the IPC to which they pleaded not guilty. The accused in their statement under Section 313 CrPC had earlier stated that the complainant was of bad character and she was indulging in prostitution and therefore said that they were falsely implicated in the rape case. They also told the court that a complaint was lodged by them against her though nothing was produced before the court.

The trial court convicted them taking into account the evidence of the complainant.

However, the accused the moved the Delhi High Court, where they presented the alleged complaints that were made against the prosecutrix, during the hearing. The high court then observed that the trial court made a mistake in saying that the accused failed to prove the making of previous complaints against the complainant. The court then acquitted the accused of rape.

The bench observed that the high court was not right in taking into consideration those complaints produced at the time of arguments in the appeal.

Referring to the judgment in State of Maharashtra and Another versus Madhurkar Narayan Mardikar, the bench said that the evidence of a woman cannot be dismissed only because she is a woman of easy virtue.

The bench then stated that the trial court judgement can be restored on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix if it inspires confidence, and affirmed the sentence of 10 years imposed on the accused by the trial court.

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