Burden of Proof Rests on Prosecution: Supreme Court Ruling Sets Precedent in Rape Cases

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has affirmed that unless mandated by law, an accused individual is not obligated to furnish evidence to establish innocence. This ruling emerged from a case where a person accused of rape was acquitted by the court.

The justices emphasized the absence of a legislative provision assigning a negative burden of proof to the accused. They clarified that unless specifically stated by law, there exists no compulsion for the accused to present evidence in their defense. Notably, the burden lies primarily on the prosecution to substantiate guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

The case under scrutiny involved allegations of rape, with the appellant and the prosecutrix being married to other individuals. The prosecutrix accused the appellant of forcibly engaging in sexual intercourse after luring her to a guest house under false pretenses.

The court meticulously assessed whether Section 114A, which presumes absence of consent in certain rape prosecutions, applied to the case. Despite arguments from the prosecution regarding the accused’s purported position of trust, the court found no grounds for its application due to the absence of specific charges.

Further examination revealed discrepancies in the prosecutrix’s testimony. Contrary to claims of coercion, evidence suggested a level of willingness and familiarity between the parties. WhatsApp exchanges, behavior after the incident, and interactions with the accused all pointed towards a different narrative.

The court also criticized the prosecution for withholding crucial CCTV footage from the guest house, undermining the integrity of the case.

Considering these factors, the court deemed the prosecutrix’s testimony unreliable, ultimately leading to the acquittal of the accused. The prosecution failed to meet the burden of proving guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

This ruling not only exonerates the accused but also underscores the fundamental principle of justice: the burden of proof rests squarely on the prosecution’s shoulders. The decision sets a significant precedent in rape cases, affirming the importance of thorough examination and adherence to legal standards in dispensing justice.

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