January 1, 2011


When Indian women cry rape, it is likely to be genuine: HC

When a girl or woman in India alleges rape, there is a “built-in assurance” that the charge is genuine, observed the Bombay high court while dismissing the appeal of a father who repeatedly raped his 15-year-old daughter for nearly a year with the result that she delivered a child.

A division bench of justices DD Sinha and VK Tahilramani was hearing the appeal of Patrick Nathan, challenging the September 16, 2004, order of the additional sessions judge, Nashik, convicting him under section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code and sentencing him to rigorous imprisonment for life.

The judges said corroboration of the testimony of a victim of sexual offence may be considered essential against the backdrop of the Western world’s social ecology. “But it is unnecessary to import the said concept and to transplant it on Indian soil regardless of the different atmosphere, attitudes, mores, responses of the Indian society and its profile,” they added. “Rarely will a girl or a woman in India make false allegations of sexual assault due to various psycho-social factors.”
According to the prosecution, Reena (name changed), an only child, resided with her father at Wagle Estate, Thane. Seven years prior to the incident, her mother left home and her whereabouts were unknown. Nathan worked in a liquor den and daily returned home drunk. In April 2002, he raped Reena. When she objected, he paid no heed and told her not to disclose it to anyone. He raped her on many occasions thereafter.

When she complained of stomach pain, a neighbour took her to a doctor who said she was pregnant. Reena said it was because of her father. Reena delivered a male child on June 7, 2003.

Nathan pleaded not guilty, saying he was implicated by his estranged wife. Neighbours testified that his wife left the house due to harassment. The first time she took Reena along, but Nathan traced her and brought them home.

The second time, she left alone and there was no news of her. They testified that they often heard Reena weeping and crying: “Father, leave me.” Reena told them that Nathan threatened to throw acid on her face. He stored it at home for throwing on his wife.

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