Sole testimony enough to convict for sexual assault under communal violence bill

Under the proposed PREVENTION OF COMMUNAL AND TARGETED VIOLENCE (ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND REPARATIONS) BILL, 2011, the sole testimony of a victim will be enough to convict a man of sexual assault.  From the draft bill:

70. Evidentiary  standard  for  sexual  assault.-  Upon  the  sole  testimony  of  the  victim  of  sexual assault, the  Designated Judge appointed under this Act  may conclude that an offence of sexual assault has been committed by the accused against the said victim.


Provided  that  in  a  prosecution  for  the  offence  of  sexual  assault,  it  shall  not  be permissible  to  put  questions  in  the  cross-examination  of  the  victim  as  to  his  or  her  general immoral character or to rely on any evidence of such victim’s previous sexual conduct.

The definition of sexual assault includes rape and other acts as given below:

7.  Sexual  assault.-  A  person  is  said  to  commit  sexual  assault  if  he  or  she  commits  any  of  the following acts against a person belonging to a group by virtue of that person’s membership of a group:
(a) against a woman,
(i)  rape;
(ii)  gang rape;
(iii)  rape or gang rape as part of or in the course of organised communal and targeted
(b) against any person, without their consent or against their will,

(i)  the  introduction  by  a  man  of  his  penis  or  any  other  body  part  or  an  object  into vagina, mouth or anus, to any extent;
(ii)  causing harm or hurt to reproductive organs or genital organs;
(iii)  exposing one’s sexual organs in front of any person;
(iv)  sexual contact of any sort, including the performance of sexual acts for any length
of time;
(v)  removing  the  persons  clothes,  partially  or  fully,  or  compelling  that  person  to
undress  himself  or  herself,  partially  or  fully,  in  public  view  or  otherwise,  or
parading that person in undressed state in public view or otherwise;
(vi)  any other act or conduct that subjects that person to sexual indignity.

Provided that where sexual assault under sub-section (a) or (b) is committed as part of
or in the course of organised communal and targeted violence, it shall not be necessary to prove that the said act was committed against the victim without their consent or against their will.


Nevermind that the sole testimony principle is being discredited by judges because of prosecution and imprisonment of innocent men.  Excerpt below:

Noting that the legal principle of reliance on the sole testimony of the victim had become “an easy weapon” to implicate anyone in a case of rape, Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat observed that once a man has been arrested for rape, he was forced to live a life of stigma even after acquittal.

“Their life is no better than the rape victim’s. They are ostracised by the society and nobody helps them lead the life of a normal citizen. They are made to suffer for no fault of theirs,” said the court.

Observing that “the government must frame a comprehensive policy for rehabilitation of such persons so that the future of a responsible and law abiding person, who has been jailed on the false rape charges, is secured… after his acquittal”, the court asked Secretaries of the Home Ministry, the Law Ministry and the Law Commission of India to consider the suggestion for the Rehabilitation Policy.


So what will be the effects of this proposed bill if passed into a law?  More justice for women, or more false cases against men?

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