An Indian girl won’t lie about sexual assault, courts must believe her, says apex court

An Indian girl has too much at stake to lie about an incident of sexual assault on her, says the Supreme Court.

A Division Bench of Justices J M Panchal and Deepak Verma said courts can have faith on the word of "any girl or woman" in the country who seeks justice against her attacker and need not look for corroborating evidence if her version "inspires confidence".

According to the judges, in "Indian society, which is, of course, not as forward looking as the western countries", the victim of a sexual attack will be so conscious of the social repercussions, that to even lodge a complaint may be an option of the last resort.

"It is a matter of common law that in Indian society any girl or woman would not make such allegations against a person as she is fully aware of the repercussions flowing therefrom. If she is found to be false, she would be looked by the society with contempt throughout her life," the court said.

The court gave vent to the predicament of the Indian girl, who will dare to complain only if "an offence has really been committed".

"A girl or a woman would be extremely reluctant even to admit that any such incident had taken place which is likely to reflect on her chastity," the Bench said.

It dismissed an appeal filed by a person found guilty of the rape of a 12-year-old girl in October 1988.

An Indian woman must consciously face the "danger of being ostracised by the society" in case she decides to fight for her dignity. "For an unmarried girl, it will be difficult to find a suitable groom. It would indeed be difficult for her to survive in Indian society," the court said in the judgment passed on December 1.

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