Calcutta High Court: DNA Report Not Conclusive in Rape Cases

Mainstream
08-May-2024
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The Calcutta High Court delivered a significant ruling on Monday, asserting that DNA reports alone cannot conclusively establish rape in cases involving sexual assault. Single-judge Justice Ajay Kumar Gupta, presiding over the case of Rabi Das @ Rabindra Nath Das vs State of West Bengal, refused to discharge a man accused in a rape case, despite a DNA report indicating he was not the biological father of the victim's child.

Justice Gupta emphasized that while DNA analysis serves as corroborative evidence, it cannot be deemed conclusive regarding rape allegations. The court highlighted that the victim's testimony established a prima facie case of rape or penetrative sexual assault, warranting further investigation.

"The DNA analysis report cannot be said to be the conclusive evidence regarding rape and can only be used as corroborative evidence in the trial and it is not clinching evidence," Justice Gupta stated.

The petitioner had sought discharge based on a DNA report from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, which revealed he was not the biological father of the child. However, the court maintained that such scientific evidence alone cannot exonerate the accused, particularly when direct evidence suggests the commission of the alleged crime.

Referring to the victim's allegations of forcible sexual intercourse and threat perception, the court emphasized the need for a comprehensive examination of evidence from both sides. Dismissing the petitioner's revision application challenging the decision of a special court designated under the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act), the High Court upheld the lower court's ruling.

Justice Gupta underscored the importance of considering all pertinent evidence before reaching a decision, particularly in cases of alleged sexual assault involving minors. The court rejected the notion that the absence of biological paternity automatically absolves the accused of criminal liability, reaffirming the need for a thorough investigation and trial process.

"The rejection of prayer for discharge of the accused person only on the ground that he is not the biological father of the female baby as per the DNA Test Report collected from CFSL, is correct, legal and valid," the Court concluded, underscoring the necessity of a holistic approach in adjudicating such sensitive matters.

With this ruling, the Calcutta High Court has set a precedent emphasizing the significance of comprehensive evidence gathering and due process in adjudicating rape cases, ensuring justice for survivors, and upholding the integrity of the legal system.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News writer, MIT ADT University