Then 22-year-old photo journalist who was gang raped by five persons, including a juvenile, in the premises of defunct Shakti Mills compound on August 22, 2013 on her birthday, received both sympathy and appreciation from the Bombay High Court for having to go through the physical and mental trauma but calling out on the accused for seeking justice not only for herself but also for survivors like her who had gone through the same experience.
She had to narrate the incident to the doctors who treated her at Jaslok hospital, the police, then to the court which recorded her statement before the trial was commenced and finally during the trial.
“She was badly injured. She narrated the whole episode with tears in her eyes, pain in her muscles and disgust in her heart. She suffered severe injuries and was admitted to ICU at Jaslok Hospital,” said the judges.
“It is unfortunate that she had to vividly narrate the whole incident before the court. We deprecate the practice of the learned prosecutors adopting the process of asking the survivor to give minute details of the act of rape,” said the judges.
The HC said that in such matters “the prosecutor ought not to have asked the survivor to give minute details of the incident, that too in the presence of the accused, and ask her what she had to say about the entire incident, which took place on that night”.
During the trial, while narrating the incident, the survivor felt nauseated and had to be referred to hospital for treatment.
“She was asked to point out the accused and narrate the particular acts done by each of the accused. She would naturally feel nauseated to live that episode again,” said judges adding: “The survivor felt so disgusted while narrating the incident that she had to be referred to the hospital, in the midst of recording of her evidence.”
Despite all the odds, she testified which led to the conviction of her perpetrators. “Her testimony has stood the test of the cross-examination and the defense could not shatter her sterling test,” noted HC.
The judges further said: “At the outset, we appreciate the courage of the survivor of bringing offenders before the Court. The patience shown by her is commendable. She had put at stake her reputation, her identity and the embarrassment to herself and her family and all concerned and the risk of having to face social obloquy when she set the law into motion. That she had lived the ghastly, horrendous, and horrifying experience where she was reduced to an object of desire to fulfill the lust of the sadistic molesters. It was traumatic for her to not just set the law into motion, but to seek justice not only for her alone, but for the victims like her, who had gone through the same experience.”
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