The Bombay High Court has said that a delay in reporting sexual assault does not mean the victim is lying about the allegations, PTI reported on Saturday. The court made the observation while upholding a sessions court’s conviction of four men in a gangrape case.

Justice AM Badar had rejected the petitions filed by the accused – Dattatraya Korde, Ganesh Pardeshi, Pintu Khoskar and Ganesh Zole – who had challenged a sessions court order sentencing them to 10 years in jail for gangrape.

The convicts were sentenced for raping a woman and assaulting her male friend on March 15, 2012, in Nashik. The four, however, claimed that the accusations were false and claimed the woman had concocted the allegations as they had threatened to report her “indecent behaviour” with her male companion to the police.

The appellants stressed on the two-day delay in reporting the crime and cited a medical examination that had ruled out rape based on the lack of injuries on her body.

The High Court cited a Supreme Court observation that said a female complainant in India “will rarely make false allegations of sexual assault”. Badar said the victim’s conservative background may have led her to fear stigma from society. “Her not approaching a police station immediately...cannot be said to be abnormal,” the judge said.