Trans rape victim’s case falls through as police lose vital evidence
Police in India has failed transgender woman who was raped as they neglected to prevent vital evidence in a criminal investigation.
The 19-year-old woman was allegedly raped by four men in the city of Pune.
Three of the four were caught within days but the attackers have walked free as Police did not provide the victim’s medical certificate.
The certificate is vital evidence in the case as it proves her status as a trans woman and that she was raped.
The judge was forced to allow one of the men to go at their bail hearing. Two still remain in custody, while one has not yet been caught.
Ujjwala Pawar, an assistant public prosecutor working on the case, said that the certificate was crucial.
“In order to understand the gravity of the offence the medical certificate, in this case, is essential.
“I was unable to file a detailed say on the FIR, too, hence the court granted a bail to one of the accused,” he explained.
The assistant police inspector in charge of the case, DS Shinde, blamed the victim for not being able to provide the medical certificate because she did not sign the document.
“The medical test of the survivor was conducted immediately after the complaint was made.
“However, her signature needs to be there on the medical certificate. We were unable to collect the certificate as she left the hospital without signing the document,” Shinde said.
The judge has since ordered police to provide the medical certificate, but if it is not then the men may be prosecuted under colonial-era anti-gay law Section 377, which criminalises sex between two people of the same gender.
The prosecutor said: “In this case, the victim has declared herself as a transgender, which is not mentioned in this particular Section.
“In order to prove whether the victim is a man or a woman, the medical report is essential,” Pawar added.
The officer confirmed that they had “procured” the certificate and will be submitting it in court later on.