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Victim’s character irrelevant while deciding rape case: SC
New Delhi, Aug 31(Agencies):
Published on 1 Sep. 2008 12:42 AM IST
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The Supreme Court has ruled that the character of a woman subjected to rape is irrelevant while deciding a rape case. A bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and Mukundakam Sharma pulled up the Allahabad High Court for acquitting two accused in a rape case on the grounds that the victim seemed to be a woman of easy virtue. The apex court, while lambasting the High Court for callous approach towards a serious offence of rape of a helpless woman, in its judgement noted,''Even assuming the victim was previously accustomed to sexual intercourse, that is not a determinative question. On the contrary, the question, which was required to be adjudicated was did the accused rape the victim on the occasion complained of.'' The Supreme Court further noted,''In this instance, let alone any discussion of the evidence, the High Court had not even indicated any basis for departing from the conclusions of the trial court. Even if it is hypothetically accepted the victim had lost her virginity earlier, it did not and cannot lawfully give licence to any person to rape her.'' Justice Pasayat writing judgement for the bench on Friday remanded the matter back to the High Court for fresh consideration and disposal of the case expeditiously. It also set aside the impugned judgement of the High Court. The High Court, while reversing the judgement of conviction passed by the trial court, had disbelieved the victim's version. An earlier judgement of the apex court acquitting police constables in a rape case on the grounds of promiscuous character of the victim was widely criticised by women organisations, social organisation and media. Moreover, public opinion is that even a prostitute cannot be raped.

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