Historic decision by SC: Women of easy virtue too have a right to say no!

A Supreme Court bench said in a landmark judgment that even if the prosecutrix is a sex worker or a woman of easy virtue, she has the right to refuse to submit herself to sexual intercourse to anyone

NH Web Desk

Even if the victim/prosecutrix is a professional prostitute or a woman of easy virtue, she has the right to refuse to submit herself to sexual intercourse to anyone, said the Supreme Court bench on a sensitive case filed by the victim restoring conviction of four men accused in the gang rape case and sentenced them to 10 years of imprisonment.

The case is 20-years-old and was filed in 1997. A woman was raped in Delhi by four men. On Tuesday, October 30, a bench comprising Justice R Banumathi and Justice Indira Banerjee asked the four convicts to surrender themselves to the court within four weeks and complete their sentence.

During the case’s hearing in the trial court, the accused in their statement under Section 313 CrPC, had said in their defense that the prosecutrix was of bad character and she was indulging in prostitution. Though they told the court that a complaint against her was lodged by them, nothing was produced before the court. The trial court then convicted them considering the evidences provided by the victim.

In the appeal filed by the accused in the High Court, they submitted the alleged complaint filed by them during the argument against the prosecutrix saying that she was a woman of easy virtue and was indulging in flesh trade. In view of the additional evidence by the accused, the High Court overturned the trail court’s decision saying that the trial court erred in saying that the accused failed to prove the making of previous complaints against the prosecutrix. The accused were then acquitted by the high court.

But the Supreme Court bench observed in its decision that the high court was not right in taking into consideration those complaints produced at the time of arguments in the appeal.

The Supreme Court bench said even if someone presents the evidence that the victim/prosecutrix is a professional sex worker that does not mean that she is of immoral character and even if the allegations of the accused that the prosecutrix is of immoral character are taken to be correct, it doesn’t give any right to the accused to violate her privacy or to force her for sexual intercourse against her wishes.

The bench then restored the trial court judgment observing that conviction can be sustained on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix if it inspires confidence.

When the High Court had acquitted the accused in 2009, it also instructed those three policemen to be sentenced, who filed a lawsuit against the four people in the gang rape and made a case on the basis of the victim’s complaint. The Supreme Court also set aside the order of the High Court under section 193 and 195 of Indian Penal Code and gave a great relief to the police officials..

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