A Supreme Court bench has announced that even if the prosecutrix is a sex worker or a woman of easy virtue, she has the right to say no.

A woman can to refuse to submit herself to sexual intercourse to anyone

Even if the survivor/prosecutrix is a professional prostitute or a woman of ‘easy virtue’, she has the right to refuse to submit herself to sexual intercourse to anyone, said the Supreme Court. The ruling came on a case filed by the survivor, seeking conviction of four men accused in her gangrape. While the trial court had sentenced them to 10 years of imprisonment, the high court had set the order aside.

The 20-year-old case was filed in 1997. Four men had raped a woman in Delhi. On Tuesday, October 30, a bench comprising Justice R Banumathi and Justice Indira Banerjee asked all four convicts to surrender themselves to court within four weeks and complete their sentence.

Earlier trials

During a hearing in the trial court, the accused, in their defence, made a statement under Section 313 CrPC, saying the prosecutrix was of bad character and she was indulging in prostitution. The accused defended themselves by citing a complaint they had filed against the woman earlier but could not produce during the trial. The trial court, however, then convicted them considering the evidences provided by the survivor.

In the appeal filed by the accused in the High Court, they submitted that the complainant was a woman of ‘easy virtue’ and was indulging in flesh trade. Looking at the additional evidence by the accused, the High Court overturned the trial court’s decision, stating that it erred in the ruling. The HC acquitted  the accused.

Now, the Supreme Court bench on Tuesday observed that the HC was not right in taking into consideration those complaints produced at the time of arguments in the appeal.

“The evidence of such a woman cannot be thrown overboard merely because she is a woman of ‘easy virtue’.”

The bench mentioned that even if someone presents evidence that the victim/prosecutrix is a professional sex worker, it does not mean that she is of immoral character.

The bench further observed that and even if the allegations citing the prosecutrix is of immoral character are taken to be correct, it doesn’t give any right to the accused to violate her privacy. The court announced that no one can force any woman for sexual intercourse against her wishes, whatever her profession may be.

The bench finally restored the trial court judgment, observing that conviction can be sustained on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix if it inspires confidence.

Also Read: Supreme Court Disagrees With Centre’s View On The Adultery Law

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