An Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court (HC) has upheld a trial court view that the result of a DNA test is not a conclusive piece of evidence in rape cases, and rejected a bail plea of a rape convict from Latur district. A DNA test has revealed that the convict was not the biological father of the rape survivor’s child.
According to the prosecution, the survivor, a 16-year-old hearing and speech impaired girl, was raped in February 2018, but her pregnancy came to light when she got married a few months after the incident. A day after the marriage, her husband noticed that she was pregnant, and took her back to her parents’ house.
A first information report (FIR) was registered against the applicant, based on the girl’s testimony, and he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by a special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act court.
The convict had moved a plea seeking suspension of the sentence and appealed for bail during pendency of his appeal against conviction, primarily on the grounds that the DNA test result of December 2018 proved that he was not the biological father of the survivor’s child, and thus, falsified the charge of rape levelled against him.
An assistant public prosecutor, however, opposed the plea, submitting that in her statement in the FIR, and her testimony before the trial court, the survivor clearly stated that she was raped by the applicant, because of which she became pregnant.
The prosecutor submitted that the trial court had rightly held that a negative result of the DNA test did not rule out the possibility of the applicant raping the girl. He submitted that the applicant took advantage of the fact that the survivor was handicapped, and her mother was blind, and thus, deserved no sympathy.
Justice Vibha Kankanwadi found force in the prosecutor’s submissions, noting that the trial court had taken pains to point out that the DNA test cannot be considered conclusive evidence regarding rape, and cannot be solely relied on to exclude ocular evidence (testimony of the survivor).
“This court agreed to the observation made by the learned trial judge that the DNA report is a corroborative piece of evidence,” said justice Kankanwadi, while approving the view adopted by the special court, and rejecting the convict’s plea.
HC also clarified that the general principle is that when there is a variance between ocular and medical evidence, then the former has to be given weightage over the later.