New Delhi, July 10: The Supreme Court has ruled that a rape victim’s identification of culprits was enough evidence for a trial court and need not be corroborated.
The judgment of July 8 has thus brought in a change in evidence as understood in rape cases.
“It is well settled that the substantive evidence is the evidence of identification in court and the test identification parade provides corroboration to the identification of the witness in court, if required,” said a bench of Justices . Santosh Hegde, Ashok Bhan and B.P. Singh.
“However, what weight must be attached to the evidence of identification in court, which is not preceded by a test identification parade, is a matter for the courts of fact to examine.”
The judgement was passed in the case of a tribal girl who was gangraped in a Madhya Pradesh village. The identification parade of the perpetrators by the police, which normally precedes the victim’s evidence in court, did not take place. Yet, the trial court and, on appeal, the high court convicted the rapists.
When those convicted approached the apex court, it confirmed the conviction, while highlighting the onerous task of producing “proof beyond doubt”, especially in rape cases.
Often, the victim suffers as it is difficult to establish the crime “beyond doubt” in rape law read with the evidence act. The culprits escape through one or the other loophole in the law.
The bench said that in the case under consideration, the victim’s testimony before the trial court was enough evidence.
The apex court, however, said that if the accused was not previously known to the witness, then an identification parade might be necessary.
But when the victim had seen the accused several times and could identify their facial or other features, the victim’s evidence before a magistrate should be taken as evidence.
In the current case, the apex court said it did not find any error in the reasoning of the trial court or the high court in convicting the rapists.
Female foeticide report
The Supreme Court has directed states and Union territories, including Bengal, which have not filed reports on female foeticide and sex determination centres to do so “within three weeks”.
In a July 7 order, a division bench asked the states to report on the implementation of amendments to the act banning sex determination.