Tamil Nadu

Interpreter’s assistance must while recording statement of mentally-challenged rape victims: HC

A view of the Madras High Court in Chennai. File   | Photo Credit: V. Ganesan

The Madras High Court has disapproved of the act of a Metropolitan Magistrate in having refused to take the assistance of a special educator/interpreter while recording the statement of a mentally-challenged rape victim.

Justice M. Nirmal Kumar set aside the statement recorded by XVIII Metropolitan Magistrate at Saidapet in Chennai on August 25 and ordered fresh recording of the statement under Section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

The judge directed the prosecution to approach the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate to nominate another Magistrate to record the statement afresh and insisted that a woman Magistrate should be nominated since the victim would have to explain the sexual assault in detail.

He also made it clear that a special educator/interpreter, preferably the victim’s school teacher with whom she would be comfortable, should be permitted to assist the Magistrate in recording the statement.

The judge said, the rape case had been registered at the All Women Police Station at Mylapore in Chennai on August 15. The case was booked at the instance of the victim’s mother who had accused their neighbour of the ghastly act.

According to the complainant, her 21-year-old mentally-challenged daughter was studying in Class X at a special school in Chennai. Taking advantage of her condition, their neighbour Dinesh Kumar had raped her, the complainant alleged.

After registration of the case, the victim was subjected to several rounds of medical examination and was made to undergo psychiatric assessment too at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital where her intelligence quotient was assessed.

The victim was found to be suffering from moderate intellectual disability. Nevertheless, when she was produced before the Magistrate for recording her statement under Section 164 of Cr.P.C., the Magistrate recorded it on his own.

Though a special educator who teaches the victim at the special school was also present before the Magistrate, the latter refused to take her assistance in recording the statement, the complainant told the High Court.

The petitioner feared that the statement recorded by the Magistrate directly, without the assistance of a special educator/interpreter, might help the accused to escape from the clutches of law.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 5:36:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/interpreters-assistance-must-while-recording-statement-of-mentally-challenged-rape-victims-hc/article37624608.ece

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