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Report No. 84

7.22. Section 155(4)-another point for amendment.-

We find that another aspect of section 155(4) also requires to be looked into. Section 155(4) is, at present, applicable even where consent is not material. The section is wide enough to apply not only where rape is charged under the category of "want of consent", but also where it is charged under some other head-for example-where the offence is committed in respect of a girl below the statutory age. The fact that the prosecutrix is a person of "general immoral character" cannot have significance whatsoever where the prosecution is not based on the want of consent.

As regards the credibility of the girl as a witness, that is to say, leaving aside the issue of consent, there does not seem to be any reason why the law should contain a rule discriminating against women. If "general immoral character" is regarded as shaking the credit of the female, it can as well be regarded as shaking the character of a male witness. But there is no corresponding provision applicable to a male "prosecutor". It is wrong to assume that a female witness is less likely to tell the truth when she has a generally immoral character. Evidence of sexual immorality cannot be admitted in other cases as substantive evidence.

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

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