The Delhi High Court has said that an accused person should not be discharged from a rape case merely because the woman had not made the allegation when the first information report was filed, PTI reported on Thursday.
The court passed the order in response to a revision petition filed by the police against a trial court order from 2016 discharging a group of men from the offence of rape. The trial court had, however, charged them under provisions of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to voluntarily causing hurt, molestation, assault or criminal force against women with intent to disrobe her, house trespass, words or gestures intended to outrage a woman’s modesty and common intent.
Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma of the High Court on Wednesday held that the woman’s statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure disclosing the offence of rape is enough to frame charges for the offence, Live Law reported. The provision deals with statements made before a magistrate in a criminal case.
The judge said that courts must give careful consideration to the aftermath of an incident of sexual violence against a person. “There is no doubt about the trauma which a victim has to face, both physically and emotionally, after incidents of such a nature,” the court said. “Many a times, a person may not be in an emotional or physical state to take an immediate stand against the assailant or to go through further trauma of investigation by the police or through an intrusive medical examination.”
Justice Sharma said that there could be instances where a medico-legal examination cannot disclose the crime. She said that trial courts should not venture into detailed assessments of evidence when charges are being framed.
“One such example is when it has been alleged that an act of rape has been committed by a finger or by any other object or in any manner where restraint marks or other medical evidence could not be adduced,” the High Court said.
Justice Sharma said that trial courts are “bound to frame charges” when there is prima facie material on record that a crime has been committed. The High Court charged the accused persons with the offence of rape, in addition to the other charges against them.