SC Says Even Sex Workers And Women With “Easy Virtue” Have A Right To Say No
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court gave a landmark judgement in favour of women’s rights. The court ruled out that even sex workers have the right to refuse their services. The all-women bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and R. Banumathi gave the judgement quashing the 2009 Delhi High Court’s order that had acquited four accused in a gang rape case. The Supreme Court in its judgement on October 30 restored the trial court’s conviction in the case and awarded ten years jail term for the accused.
Right to say no to all
According to The Wire, the bench gave the verdict on the Delhi v Pankaj Chaudhary and Others’, overturning the acquittal by Delhi high court in a gang rape case that took place in the national capital. The apex court judgement keeping the right and privacy of women in mind concluded that even if a woman is of “easy virtue” she is entitled to her rights and is not open to all to be violated. The bench relied on the 1991 State of Maharashtra and Another v Madhukar Narayan Mardikar verdict.
“Even assuming that the woman was of easy virtue, she has a right to refuse to submit herself to sexual intercourse to anyone,” the court observed. The top court maintained that even if a prosecutrix is of “immoral character” then also her evidence cannot be thrown away because of her virtue.
“Even in cases where there is some material to show that the victim was habituated to sexual intercourse, no inference like the victim being a woman of ‘loose moral character’ is permissible to be drawn from that circumstance alone,” said the bench.
The top court found that high court did not accept the victim’s evidence as there were doubts in the F.I.R time and also there was an absence of external injuries on the victim’s body. The Supreme Court maintained that the medical report had evidence and the statement of the rape was corroborated by her mother who saw the accused leaving the spot. She later identified the two of them in the trial court. The court also took note of the presence of human semen on the petticoat of the prosecutrix as evidence.
Keeping that in mind, the bench said that the absence of external injuries on her does not prove that the women gave her consent. “The blouse was torn along the back of left sleeve, and such injuries were possible by use of force… In any event, the absence of external injuries does not tantamount to consent nor does it discredit the version of the prosecutrix,” said the bench, as reported by Bar and Bench.
Background of the case
The case was that the accused went to the prosecutrix Jhuggi who lived in the same neighbour at around 9 pm in the night and raped her. The case was registered, and the lower court convicted the accused under 376(2)(g) IPC and sentenced each of them imprisonment of ten years.
However, the accused filed an appeal before the High Court. In their statement, the accused said that the complaint was of loose character and who also indulged in prostitution and that is why it is a false case. The Delhi High court noted that there were some discrepancies in the case and based on the that the court acquitted the accused.
The case was then challenged in the Supreme Court. The top court judgment came on Tuesday that overturned the High Court verdict and pronounced guilty to the accused. The court asked the convicts to surrender within four weeks to serve the remaining sentence.