Women of ‘easy virtue’ have right to say no too, says SC

Apex court verdict brings clarity on the subject of rights of women sex workers

November 01, 2018 01:41 am | Updated November 02, 2018 06:03 pm IST - New Delhi

For Index : Attn: Mr. PKS / Mr. VKN / News Editor / Delhi Desk -----  Supreme Court of India,  in New Delhi on Monday. (10-11-2003).  Digital Image Photo: Shanker Chakravarty.

For Index : Attn: Mr. PKS / Mr. VKN / News Editor / Delhi Desk ----- Supreme Court of India, in New Delhi on Monday. (10-11-2003). Digital Image Photo: Shanker Chakravarty.

A woman of easy virtue could not be raped by a person for that reason, the Supreme Court has ruled in a significant verdict that also brings clarity on the subject of rights of women sex workers.

A Bench of Justices R. Banumathi and Indira Banerjee has noted that even if the allegations that a woman is of immoral character are taken to be correct, the same does not give any right to any person to commit rape on her against her consent.

The top court’s ruling came while convicting four men of gangraping a woman in Delhi’s Katwaria Sarai area in July 1997 and sending them to 10 years imprisonment for the crime.

The four men had in their statement argued that the victim was of bad character and indulging in prostitution. They contended that they were falsely implicated in the rape case as they have lodged complaint against her.

While a trial court here had found them guilty of gang rape, the High Court later acquitted them.

The Bench remarked the trial court had rightly held that “even if the allegations of the accused that the prosecutrix [victim] is of immoral character are taken to be correct, the same does not give any right to the accused persons to commit rape on her against her consent.”

“Even assuming that the prosecutrix was of easy virtue, she has a right of refuse to submit herself to sexual intercourse to anyone,” the Bench said.

It noted that even in cases where there is some material to show that the victim was habituated to sexual intercourse, no inference like the victim being a woman of ‘loose moral character” is permissible to be drawn from that circumstance alone.

The top court reiterated that it is now well-settled principle of law that conviction can be sustained on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix if it inspires confidence.

In this case, the Bench relied on the testimonies of the victim which was corroborated by her mother, who saw the accused leaving the jhuggi and identified two of them in the court.

It also noted that the evidence of the victim is corroborated by the MLC report saying that the injuries found on her could be possible by use of force.

The Bench also quashed the direction of the High Court to lodge complaint against the police officials who had probed the case.

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