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Report No. 84

7.9. Signs of violence.-

It is a peculiarity of the offence of rape that usually there are no witnesses excepting the victim herself. Proof of the offence, therefore, primarily depends on the credibility of the allegations of the victim. It is mainly for this reason that a statement of the woman that there was intercourse without her consent is often not accepted unless there is some overt evidence of want of consent. Bruises, scratches or other marks of struggle may constitute such evidence, but that would, at best, be a feeble evidence of want of consent. Unfortunately, such marks of struggle are sometimes regarded as constituting the only evidence of want of consent. Such an attitude, though deeply regrettable, has no basis in the statutory provisions constituting the law of evidence in India.

In tact; the Indian law of evidence does not, in general, lay down that a particular species of evidence should be insisted upon in proof or disproof of a particular fact. The Evidence Act lays down certain general rules which indicate the nature of facts that can be proved. If a fact to be proved is a fact in issue, its consequences (effects) are, no doubt, relevant. But proof of those consequences or effects is not limited to particular species of evidence. Thus, if want of consent is the fact in issue, its consequence-the physical resistance or struggle-is, no doubt, relevant; and so is the consequence of that physical struggle, namely, marks on the body. But the law does not lay down that only that piece of evidence can be given. The point, in fact, need not be laboured further.

Rape and Allied Offences - Some Questions of Substantive Law, Procedire and Evidence Back

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