The Meghalaya High Court has ruled that rubbing of male organ on the vagina or urethra, even over underpants, would still amount to penetration and be charged as rape under Section 375 (b) of the Indian Penal Code.
A division bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W. Diengdoh, in their order, on Monday, on a rape incident dating back to September 23, 2006, said that even if it be accepted that the appellant herein forced his organ into the vagina or urethra of the victim despite the victim wearing her underpants, it would still amount to penetration for the purpose of Section 375 (b).
“When it is evident that the 10-year-old victim, upon being medically examined (on October 1, 2006) about a week after the incident, still showed signs of tenderness in her vagina and her hymen was torn, there is sufficient evidence of penetrative sex. The victim also indicated that the appellant herein pulled at her underpants.”
A trial court had, on October 31, 2018, convicted the accused and sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment and a Rs 25,000 fine, in default of which he will undergo imprisonment for an additional six months.
The convict challenged the order in the High Court, contending that if the victim’s underpants were not removed, then how he could be accused of rape.
But the high court did not accept this.
“In any event, by virtue of Section 375 (c) of the Penal Code, when a person manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration into, inter alia, the vagina or urethra, the act would amount to rape. There is sufficient evidence of such penetration in the present case,” said the 6-page HC order.
“Whatever may have been the reasons for the victim claiming that she did not feel any pain at the time, she complained of pain when she was medically examined on October 1, 2006 and the medical report confirmed the same. The medical report also confirmed the tenderness in her vagina which also revealed redness and the ruptured hymen.
“The principal ground of the appeal by the accused is that though the appellant has been found guilty of having committed rape and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and payment of fine of Rs 25,000 in default to suffer imprisonment for an additional six months, no case of penetration in terms of Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was made out,” the HC said.
“Since the victim was a minor and since the appellant confessed that he lost control over himself and committed the offence, the punishment awarded to the appellant herein does not appear to be out of place,” it added.