An Indian High Court acquitted a convicted rapist because the judge says it’s impossible for the man to have committed rape alone. You heard that right folks, the judge truly believes men cannot take on an ordinary woman alone.
Justice Pushpa Ganediwala of the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court overturned the jail term of a convicted rapist reasoning that;
“[Gagging a girl, removing her clothes, and raping her is highly impossible for a single man], It seems highly impossible for a single man to gag the mouth of the prosecutrix [the victim] and remove her clothes and his clothes and to perform the forcible sexual act, without any scuffle. The medical evidence also does not support the case of the prosecutrix,”
India Today reports, that the Indian High Court judge negated the testimony of the victim since she said she would not have come forth with the sexual assault charges had her mother lodged the complaint.
“The testimony of the victim does not inspire the confidence of the court as the incident, as narrated, does not appeal to the reason as it is against the natural human conduct.”
Releasing a Rapist
26-year-old Suraj Kasarkar from Yavatmal was convicted of raping his 15 years old neighbor, after the victim’s mother lodged a complaint against him on July 26, 2013.
Following the FIR and charge-sheet, a special trial court found that the prosecution could prove the charge of rape and criminal trespass and he was convicted. However, the assertion of the rape victim being a minor at the time of the sexual assault could not be substantiated.
Meanwhile, the legal representative for the accused told the court that the victim was above the age of 18 and that the incident in question was a consensual act between the victim and the accused.
***Trigger warning: This excerpt of the victim’s testimony is highly disturbing****
However, the prosecution argued that the victim’s testimony clearly described the violent incident took place against her will in her house. Hence the accused was criminally trespassing aside from rape.
“It was the time of 9.30 p.m. At the relevant time, I was lying on a cot in my house. My younger brother was sleeping on the ground. My mother had been to natural call out of the house. At that time, accused Suraj came to my house under the influence of liquor. He gagged my mouth and not allowed me to shout when I tried to shout. Thereafter, he removed his clothes and also removed my clothes from my person, … [The victim then describes her rape and how the accused took her clothes when he left] … Thereafter, my mother came. I narrated the incident to my mother. We came to the police station. I lodged the report.”
In a repeal on the conviction of 26-year-old Suraj Kasarkar, Justice Ganediwala dismissed the rape allegations saying;
“Had it been a case of forcible intercourse, there would have been a scuffle between the parties. In the medical report, no injuries of a scuffle could be seen. The defence of consensual physical relations does appear probable. In cross-examination, the defence could bring on record the probable doubt with regard to consensual relations. In her cross-examination, she has admitted that ‘it is true that if my mother had not come, I would not have lodged report’.”
South Asia doesn’t have the best track record for delivering justice to sexual assault victims, hence why many women do not come forth with rape complaints to pursue a legal battle. India has a less than 30% conviction rate in rape cases.
Indian High Court Track Record for Rulings Against Victims
The low rate of convictions in rape cases aside, the Indian High Court seems to have a track record for such rulings, Justice Ganediwala in particular.
Ganediwala is also the Indian High Court judge behind the recent order on a case under POCSO Act that came under scrutiny, where she released a child predator because aggravated sexual assault had not occurred.
Libnus Kujur from Gadchiroli had only been sentenced to five years after he was caught trying to sexually assault a five-year-old. He had exposed himself and was holding the minor girl when the child’s mother walked in.
The laborer had been convicted in a lower court on October 5, 2020, but got away with a slap on the wrist when Justice Ganediwala heard his repeal.
She had said;
“Holding hand of the victim and opening zip of pant are not sexual assault.”