A bench division of the Madras High Court, manned by Justice S. Vaidyanathan, recently gave its verdict in a case that involved the rape of a five-year-old girl by a male adult in Nagapattinam, which occurred sometime in 2011.
In its ruling, Justice S. Vaidyanathan held that the testimony of a child survivor in rape cases must be believed by the Court, and the Court should not rely on technicalities to discard such evidence.
In making this declaration, the Court had observed that two-years after the incident had occurred, the victim had maintained her testimony, and was not discredited during cross-examination. According to the Court, there was no reason why her testimony could not be believed.
Justice S. Vaidyanathan pointed out that, the misconception that parents of a child can influence a child to lie or give false testimony, should not in any way influence the Court’s disposition when faced with a case of sexual abuse involving a child victim.
The Court rejected the arguments presented by the accused on the credibility of the victim’s testimony. The Court also rejected the accused’s argument that there was an absence of injuries on the child’s body to show that she had been raped. The Court further rejected the accused’s testimony that the parents of the child had delayed in lodging the complaint.
In its findings, the Court stated that in a village setting, it is not uncommon to find that the family of a girl, who was raped, would not immediately lodge a complaint at the police station. They would take some time to absorb the shock and recover. And in this case, the family waited four days before lodging the complaint.
The Court further observed that since the complaint was lodged after four days, from the time the rape occurred, the bloodstains on the child’s body could not possibly be traced after four days.
The fact that the girl could withstand cross-examination, two years after the incident, was a convincing and compelling factor.