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The Delhi High Court Friday held a rape victim as unreliable and acquitted the accused, saying that the woman failed to prove her case and did not appear to be ‘consistent and firm’ on her stand.

‘There is no support coming forth to the case set up by the prosecution that the act of rape was committed upon the prosecutrix. So far the prosecutrix is concerned, she herself failed to prove her case and she did not appear to be consistent and firm on her own stand,’ the court said.

According to prosecution, Bobby alias Rajesh forcibly took Shivani to some place on Sep 19, 1994, and raped her twice. He was traced by the police on Sep 24. Bobby was sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment by a trial court, but he challenged his conviction in 2003.

While hearing Bobby’s appeal, Justice Kailash Gambhir said that from the evidence on record, no case of rape is made out against Bobby.

‘It is a settled legal position that even the uncorroborated testimony of the prosecutrix can be held to be sufficient to sustain the conviction of an accused of rape. But then such testimony should be unflinching, consistent and infallible, and inspire the confidence of the court to believe her version.’

‘However, where such sole testimony of the prosecutrix is inconsistent, then the same by itself cannot be relied upon unless it is corroborated by other circumstantial evidence, including medical evidence, otherwise it will be difficult for the court to sustain conviction for an offence of rape,’ the court said.

‘Our system of administration of justice for criminal cases is that a person arraigned as an accused is presumed to be innocent unless that presumption is rebutted by the prosecution by production of evidence as may show him to be guilty of the offence with which he is charged. The burden of proving the guilt of the accused is upon the prosecution and unless it relieves itself of that burden, the courts cannot record a finding of the guilt of the accused.’

‘It is no doubt true that wrongful acquittals are undesirable and shake the confidence of the people in the judicial system, much worse, however, is the wrongful conviction of an innocent person. The consequences of the conviction of an innocent person are far more serious and its reverberations cannot but be felt in a civilized society,’ the court said while acquitting Bobby.

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