Beyond DNA: Calcutta High Court Challenges Conclusive Proof in Rape Cases

The Calcutta High Court, in Rabi Das @ Rabindra Nath Das vs the State of West Bengal, ruled that a DNA report alone is not sufficient to establish rape. Despite the report indicating that the accused was not the biological father of the child born to the victim, the Court refused to discharge him from the rape case. Justice Ajay Kumar Gupta emphasized that the victim’s evidence prima facie established rape or sexual assault.

The Court clarified that while DNA analysis can serve as corroborative evidence, it is not conclusive in proving rape.

The Court acknowledged the DNA report from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory indicating the petitioner was not the biological father of the female baby. However, it stated that this alone is insufficient grounds to discharge the accused. Justice Gupta emphasized that direct evidence from the Case Diary suggests the allegation of rape.

Given the need for substantive evidence from both sides, the accused cannot be discharged solely based on the DNA report at this stage.

The Court reviewed a revision application challenging the decision of a special court designated under the POCSO Act. The special court in Purba Medinipur, through an order on January 16, 2017, declined to discharge the applicant from the rape case. Despite the applicant’s reliance on a DNA report showing he was not the biological father of the child, the special court determined that this fact did not negate the allegations of rape against him.

The special court emphasized the need for evidence from both sides, stating that it would be unfair to discharge the accused based solely on the DNA Report. The victim alleged multiple instances of forcible rape, leading the accused to appeal to the High Court.

Justice Gupta highlighted that the victim, aged 14 at the time, was found pregnant after falling ill. She disclosed to the police that the petitioner had forcibly assaulted her multiple times and threatened her. These circumstances established a prima facie case of rape and threat against the petitioner.

Consequently, the Court upheld the denial of discharge, finding no legal or jurisdictional errors.

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About the Author: Payal Singh