2020 SCeJournal 1861
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
POCSO Act, Section 7, 8 - Sterling witness - Conviction solely based on the sole testimony of the victim - On evaluating the deposition of the victim on the touchstone of the law laid down by this Court we are of the opinion that the sole testimony of the victim is absolutely trustworthy and unblemished and her evidence is of sterling quality - Therefore, in the facts and circumstances of the case, the learned trial Court has not committed any error in convicting the accused, relying upon the deposition of victim. 2020 SCeJournal 1861
Sterling Witness - Who can be said to be a “sterling witness”, has been dealt with and considered by this Court in the case of Rai Sandeep alias Deepu v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2012) 8 SCC 21. 2020 SCeJournal 1861
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Conviction based on statement of solitary victim witness.
To hold an accused guilty for commission of an offence of rape, the solitary evidence of the prosecutrix is sufficient, provided the same inspires confidence and appears to be absolutely trustworthy, unblemished and should be of sterling quality. Krishan Kumar Malik v. State of Haryana (2011) 7 SCC 130,
Statement of the prosecutrix, if found to be worthy of credence and reliable, requires no corroboration. The court may convict the accused on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix. Vijay alias Chinee v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2010) 8 SCC 191.
In a case where it is shown that the girl is a girl of easy virtue or a girl habituated to sexual intercourse, it may not be a ground to absolve the accused from the charge of rape. It has to be established that there was consent by her for that particular occasion. Absence of injury on the prosecutrix may not be a factor that leads the court to absolve the accused. There can be conviction on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix and in case, the court is not satisfied with the version of the prosecutrix, it can seek other evidence, direct or circumstantial, by which it may get assurance of her testimony. State of U.P. v. Pappu, (2005) 3 SCC 594
In cases involving sexual harassment, molestation, etc. the court is duty bound to deal with such cases with utmost sensitivity. Minor contradictions or insignificant discrepancies in the statement of a prosecutrix should not be a ground for throwing out an otherwise reliable prosecution case. Evidence of the victim of sexual assault is enough for conviction and it does not require any corroboration unless there are compelling reasons for seeking corroboration. The court may look for some assurances of her statement to satisfy judicial conscience. The statement of the prosecutrix is more reliable than that of an injured witness as she is not an accomplice. Delay in filing FIR for sexual offence may not be even properly explained, but if found natural, the accused cannot be given any benefit thereof. State of Punjab v. Gurmit Singh, (1996) 2 SCC 384.
Rape is not mere physical assault, rather it often destroys the whole personality of the victim. The rapist degrades the very soul of the helpless female and, therefore, the testimony of the prosecutrix must be appreciated in the background of the entire case and in such cases, non-examination even of other witnesses may not be a serious infirmity in the prosecution case, particularly where the witnesses had not seen the commission of the offence. State of Orissa v. Thakara Besra, (2002) 9 SCC 86.
There is no legal compulsion to look for any other evidence to corroborate the evidence of the prosecutrix before recording an order of conviction. Evidence has to be weighed and not counted. Conviction can be recorded on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix, if her evidence inspires confidence and there is absence of circumstances which militate against her veracity. State of H.P. v. Raghubir Singh, (1993) 2 SCC 622.
Similar view in Wahid Khan v. State of M.P. (2010) 2 SCC 9 , Rameshwar v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1952 SC 54.