Refusing to rely on the statement of a woman that she was raped and assaulted by a temple priest, a Delhi court has acquitted him observing that things do not appear to have happened the way they were projected.
Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain said though in rape cases conviction can be made on the sole testimony of the victim, in this case the woman's statement was "exaggerated" and led to doubts on the veracity of her evidence. Therefore, it is not safe to rely on her "uncorroborated version".
The court relied on the priest's version that he was assaulted by the woman on an assumption that he had a role in breaking the engagement of her son.
He contended that the girl's family broke the engagement with the woman's elder son after they found out that her husband was involved in a murder case and her younger son had eloped with a relative.
"I am of the view that the circumstances appearing in this case when examined... do not lead to any decisive conclusion that the accused committed sexual intercourse with the prosecutrix without her consent after intoxicating her and caused her injuries.
"The testimony of the woman does not appear to be of sterling quality. There are embellishments and exaggerations in her testimony which go to the root of the case. The things appear to have not happened in the manner they have been projected," the judge said.
The court also observed that in such criminal cases, testimony of a victim is relied upon even without any medical corroboration and a rape victim's statement commands great respect and acceptability.
"... but if there are some circumstances which cast doubts in the mind of the court on the veracity of the victim's evidence then it is not safe to rely on the uncorroborated version of the victim of rape," it said.
According to the prosecution, a complaint was lodged by the woman at Jaitpur police station in south Delhi, that she visited the house of the priest on June 5, 2014 to get the date of her son's wedding fixed.
However, the accused made her consume a drink after which she felt dizzy, it said, adding that taking advantage of her condition, he raped and assaulted her.
In his statement recorded under CrPC, the accused denied the allegations before the court and claimed that he was falsely implicated and assaulted by the woman and her family members to wreak vengeance after her son's engagement was called off.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)