While acquitting a factory owner accused of raping a young employee for lack of evidence to support the prosecution’s case, a Sessions court here has taken note of the continuing outcry among citizens and the media about the poor conviction rate while saying that its judgment cannot be swayed by emotions or media reporting.

Additional Sessions Judge Nivedita Anil Sharma said: “It would not be out of place to mention here that today there is a hue and cry being raised everywhere that courts are not convicting the rape accused. However, no man accused of rape can be convicted if the witnesses do not support the prosecution case or give quality evidence, as in the present case where the evidence of the prosecutrix (alleged victim) is unreliable and untrustworthy. It should not be ignored that the court has to confine itself to the ambit of law and the contents of the file as well as the testimonies of the witnesses and is not to be swayed by emotions or reporting in the media.”

Changing version

The judge noted that the girl’s version of the story kept changing from her initial statement to the police, to the statement recorded before a magistrate and her final testimony before the court.

The defence also argued that the girl was a consenting party to the relationship. The age of the girl was also subject to much wrangling with her school certificate showing her year of birth to be 1998 and therefore a minor, while a medical test revealed her age to be over 18.

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