Penetration is not necessary for establishing the offence of rape, the Supreme Court has said.

“Penetration itself proves the offence of rape, but the contrary is not true —that is even if there is no penetration, it does not necessarily mean that there is no rape,” a Bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and Gyan Sudha Misra said.

The apex court passed the judgment while upholding the conviction of a man for raping an 11-year-old girl in 1997 despite there being no evidence of penetration.

“The explanation to section 375 [rape] of IPC has been worded by the legislature so as to presume that if there was penetration, it would be sufficient to constitute sexual intercourse necessary for the offence of rape.

“Penetration may not always result in tearing of the hymen,” the Bench said.

The apex court’s judgment came while dismissing the appeal of Radhakrishna Nagesh, a ball boy at SV University tennis court in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.The trial court had acquitted him in 1999.

The High Court, however set aside the order of the trial court, convicted the accused and sentenced him to 10-year imprisonment.

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