Monday 26 December 2022

Supreme Court Guidelines for recording evidence of victim woman of sexual offences

  The legislature has, at places, moulded criminal procedure to enable victims of sexual crimes to seek justice. This has been done in recognition of the gravity of sexual crimes and the need to handle such cases in an appropriately sensitive manner. For instance, Section 327 CrPC provides for in camera trials to be conducted with respect to offences punishable under Sections 376, 376A, 376B, 376C or 376D of the Indian Penal Code 1860. {Para 33}

34. This Court, too, has had its role to play in ensuring that justice does not remain inaccessible. In State of Maharashtra v. Bandu @ Daulat,10 this Court directed that special centres be set up in each state in order to facilitate depositions by vulnerable witnesses, including victims of sexual offences. In Smruti Tukaram Badade v. State of Maharashtra,11 a two-judge bench of this Court (of which one of us, Dr. DY Chandrachud, J. was a part) supplemented the directions issued in Bandu @ Daulat (supra) with respect to setting up such special centres.

35. It is the duty and responsibility of trial courts to deal with the aggrieved persons before them in an appropriate manner, by:

a. Allowing proceedings to be conducted in camera, where appropriate, either under Section 327 CrPC or when the case otherwise involves the aggrieved person (or other witness) testifying as to their experience of sexual harassment / violence;

b. Allowing the installation of a screen to ensure that the aggrieved woman does not have to see the accused while testifying or in the alternative, directing the accused to leave the room while the aggrieved woman’s testimony is being recorded;

c. Ensuring that the counsel for the accused conducts the cross-examination of the aggrieved woman in a respectful fashion and without asking inappropriate questions, especially regarding the sexual history of the aggrieved woman. Cross-examination may also be conducted such that the counsel for the accused submits her questions to the court, who then poses them to the aggrieved woman;

d. Completing cross-examination in one sitting, as far as possible.



Criminal Appeal No 1184 of 2022 

XYZ Versus State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.


Author: Dr. Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud, J.

Dated: August 05, 2022.

Read full Judgment here: Click here

Print Page

No comments:

Post a Comment