The Dindoshi Sessions Court convicted a man of attempting to rape a 12-year-old disabled girl. The victim, who had narrated the incident in her testimony, negated it during her cross-examination conducted after a gap of over three months. The court said she must certainly be under pressure and compelled to take her evidence back.
The child’s mother, who was the complainant in the case, had not supported it in her deposition in the court on October 1 last year. A few days later, on October 9, the victim had narrated the assault and stood by the case. The courts were working half day due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The accused’s advocate had sought an adjournment, as the court time was over. Thereafter, the accused had changed his advocate and sought more adjournments. In the cross-examination that took place after three and a half months, the victim negated her earlier testimony.
The court noted these aspects and said that the cross-examination was taken after three and a half months. The victim certainly must be under pressure from her mother or other family members. It is clear from the overall circumstances, it said, that she was compelled to take her evidence back.
“Victim’s cross-examination is not evidence at all. It is a forceful act of compulsion on the victim from people who are interested in getting the acquittal of the accused. In my humble opinion,it is not evidence in the eyes of law. It is a mockery of lawful procedure. Unfortunately it happens in such matters. However, when the matter involves the question of assault on a woman, the courts cannot shut their eyes and accept everything mechanically by allowing such unjust acts,” special judge under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act HC Shende said in her judgment.
It said further that we have to think of the victim, who daringly gave evidence earlier, and stand behind her. “She should not lose faith in the law and the courts of law,” it said.
The man was acquitted of the offences under the POCSO Act, as there was no documentary evidence produced to prove the victim was a minor.