Relying on the testimony of a two-and-a-half year-old girl, the Delhi High Court has convicted a man for raping her in 2012, while observing that the evidence of a child witness can be relied upon after careful scrutiny.
While setting aside a trial court order which had acquitted him, a division bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Mukta Gupta said the approach adopted by the magistrate before whom the victim was produced for recording her statement was most casual and cavalier.
The evidence of a child witness cannot be rejected per se, but the court as a rule of prudence is required to consider such evidence with close scrutiny and if it is convinced about the quality thereto and the reliability of the child witness it can record conviction based on his testimony.
If after careful scrutiny of the testimony of child witness, the court comes to the conclusion that there is impress of truth in it then there is no reason as to why the court should not accept the evidence of child witness, the bench said. The court also directed Delhi’s health secretary to ensure that the victim receives the best possible treatment.
It would be the duty of the State to ensure that the victim gets the best medical treatment so that the wounds she has suffered heal and she is not permanently disabled. We direct Secretary (Health), Government of NCT of Delhi to ensure that victim receives the best possible medical treatment, and if necessary at a reputed private hospital for which the expenses shall be borne by the State, the bench said. The high court directed the man to appear before it on October 27, when the arguments on the quantum of sentence would be heard.
The trial court, in its judgement on February 4, had concluded that the minor was raped but acquitted the accused by refusing to accept her testimony and evidence. Despite holding that the infant girl had been brutally raped in October 2012, the trial court had said the element of tutoring (her) cannot be ruled out completely.
According to the prosecution, the incident took place on October 6, 2012, when accused Surjeet Kumar had lured the child near her house and took her to a secluded place and allegedly raped her. The child was rescued when someone saw her crying near a booster pump and informed her parents after which she was taken to Safdarjung hospital for medical aid. A case of rape was registered at Naraina police station.