The Bombay High Court has ruled that a DNA test cannot be said to be the “conclusive evidence” in a rape case, and can only be used for the purpose of corroboration. Justice Bharati Dangre of the high court made this observation while rejecting the bail application of a Navi Mumbai-based man, accused of raping a 14-year-old girl, his neighbour. The court had rejected the bail plea of the accused on July 26, but the detailed order was made available on Friday.
The accused in the case was arrested in September 2020. He had allegedly raped the girl multiple times for 10 days. The alleged crime had come to light after the victim complained of severe stomach pain. Her medical test had revealed that she was pregnant.
A First Information Report (FIR) was later registered against the man at Nerul police station in Navi Mumbai, the charge sheet said. The applicant (accused) took undue advantage of the situation of the victim girl, who was working in his house, it said. The court said that even though the DNA test was negative, there was no reason to disbelieve the testimony of the victim, who has narrated the act of sexual assault upon her at the instance of the applicant (accused).
The DNA test cannot be said to be the conclusive evidence regarding a rape, but it can only be used as a corroborative evidence, the court said. “It is not in dispute that the evidence of DNA analysis can be used for the purpose of corroboration. The statement of the victim girl as well as her mother is recorded under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The victim has specifically narrated about the incident of repeated sexual assault committed on her by the applicant,” the court said.
Further, the victim specifically stated that the accused lured her by paying some amount and even threatened her not to disclose the incident to any person, which compelled her to keep mum. When her pregnancy was disclosed, she revealed to her parents that the applicant is responsible for the pregnancy and he had forced himself upon her.
“The DNA test excludes the applicant as the father of the child, but that does not discredit the victim who has reiterated in her 164 statement that the applicant forcibly committed sexual intercourse with her,” Justice Dangre said. The court said that in the wake of the observations of the Supreme Court, though a positive result of the DNA test would constitute clinching evidence against the accused, if the result is negative, the other material available on record will still have to be considered independently.