DNA Test In Rape Case Not Conclusive Evidence, Says Bombay High Court

Mumbai: A DNA test cannot be said to be conclusive evidence in a case of rape and can only be used as corroborative evidence. The Bombay High Court observed this while rejecting the bail plea of a man booked for raping a 14-year-old girl. The court had rejected the bail plea of the accused on July 26, but the detailed order was made available on Friday, The Indian Express reported.

While rejecting the bail plea of the accused, Justice Bharti Dangre said: “The DNA test excludes the man as the father of the child, but that does not discredit the victim, who has reiterated in her 164 statement that the applicant forcibly committed sexual intercourse with her.”

“As per the charge-sheet, the man has taken undue advantage of the victim’s situation, who was working in his house. There is no reason to disbelieve the testimony of the victim who has narrated the act of sexual assault upon her at the instance of the applicant,” he said.

“The DNA test cannot be said to be conclusive evidence regarding a rape, but it can only be used as corroborative evidence,” he added.

The case

The accused is a neighbour of the minor and her labourer parents, living in a slum. He had allegedly raped the girl multiple times for 10 days. The alleged crime came to light after the victim complained of severe stomach pain. Her medical tests revealed that she was pregnant. A First Information Report (FIR) was later registered against the man at Nerul police station in Navi Mumbai.

The parents told the police that the man and his wife approached them in February 2020 and asked them to send the girl to their home to look after their two children.

A few months later, the girl complained of abdominal pain and then revealed that while she was caring for the accused man’s two minor children, he had committed forcible sexual assault on her for ten days while his wife was away. The girl stated that the accused assured her that he would marry her, and he offered her Rs 200 and established a physical relationship with her twice a day.

The minor’s family claimed that after filing the complaint, the accused’s wife approached them, admitted guilt, and offered to provide the victim girl with treatment.

In the absence of her parents, the accused’s wife took the minor to the hospital and administered two injections and four tablets. However, the foetus could not be terminated.

The Bombay High Court noted that the girl’s medical examination did not reveal any evidence of sexual intercourse since she was examined after seven months.

Reviewing Supreme Court orders, Justice Dangre said that “though a positive result of DNA would constitute clinching evidence against the accused, if the result is negative, the other material on record will still have to be considered independently.”

Justice Dangre further said that since the victim and her mother recorded their statements before the magistrate, “there is no reason to doubt the said statement where the victim has clearly stated about the sexual exploitation at the hands of the applicant, and further, considering the victim’s family’s precarious situation, there is every likelihood of the victim and his family being pressurised by the accused,” the report added.

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