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Rameshwar v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1952 SC 54


Rameshwar v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1952 SC 54


  • Whether when a statement made at or around the time of the crime occurred is admissible as evidence, does corroboration have to be provided when the child is under the age of 12 years?


  • The main test as to whether a previous statement was made “at or about the time when the fact took place”, within the meaning of sec. 157, Evidence Act, is whether the statement was made as early as can reasonably be expected in the circumstances of the case and before there was an opportunity for tutoring or concoction.


  • The alleged victim of the rape committed by the appellant Rameshwar was an eight-year-old girl.
  • He was brought before the Assistant Sessions Judge, who found him guilty and sentenced him to a year of strict incarceration as well as a fine.
  • Following an appeal, the learned Sessions Judge determined that the evidence was adequate for moral conviction but fell short of legal proof because the law requires corroboration of the story in such cases as a matter of precaution, and the corroborative evidence, which attempted to link the appellant with the crime, was legally insufficient though morally sufficient.
  • Nevertheless, the learned Sessions Judge was satisfied that the girl had been raped by someone. In doing so, he gave the accused the benefit of the doubt and exonerated him.
  • The learned High Court Judges stated that the girl’s statement to her mother was legally admissible as corroboration and that they considered that sufficient, despite the fact that the law requires corroboration in such cases.
  • As a result, they set aside the acquittal and reinstated the conviction and sentence. Following that, the High Court granted permission to appeal under Article 134 (1)(c) of the Constitution because the case presented important legal issues.


  • The Supreme Court had rejected the appeal and ordered the petitioner to appear for his scheduled bail hearing in line with the conditions of the bond, complete the required jail time, and make the required fine payment.
  • The judge ruled that a victim of rape is not an accomplice. As far as the crime of rape is concerned, a girl’s permission will not matter if she is underage; yet, if she was, her testimony would be just as questionable as that of an accomplice.
  • The rule, which has become more rigid as cases have gone by, is not that corroboration is required before a conviction can stand, but rather that the necessity of corroboration, as a matter of caution, must be on the judge’s mind and, in jury cases, must be included in the charge before a conviction without corroboration can be upheld, except when the circumstances make it safe to do so.
  • The young age of the child may make corroboration unnecessary, but that is a matter of fact in every case. Other factors that may come into play include the child’s behavior, the likelihood of tutoring, and other factors.
  • The only requirement of the law is that the judge or jury, depending on the circumstances, must be aware of and understand this rule of prudence. It is not standard procedure to require corroboration in every instance before a conviction can stand.
  • In addition to supporting the allegation that the crime was done, independent evidence must also properly link or tend to link the accused to it by correlating the testimony of the accomplice or complainant that the accused committed the crime. This does not imply that all of the circumstances required to link the accused to the crime must be included in the confirmation of identity.
  • It is only necessary that there be independent proof that supports the witness’s account that the accused committed the crime, or was at least one of those responsible.
  • The supreme court ruled that independent sources must be used for corroboration, thus typically one accomplice’s evidence would not be enough to support that of another. However, under some unique conditions, it may be permissible to do away with the need for corroboration, and in those instances, a conviction based on such evidence would not be unlawful. This is because it was argued that the mother in this case was not an independent source.
  • According to Section 157, any prior statements a witness made about the same fact at or around the time the fact occurred or before any authority legally qualified to investigate the fact may be proven in order to corroborate the witness’ testimony.
  • There can be no doubt that such a statement is legally admissible in India as corroboration provided the requirement stipulated, namely, “at or about the time etc.,” are fulfilled. The provision offers no exceptions. Corroboration evidence must be weighed as it is presented, and in some circumstances, even though it is legally admissible for the relevant purpose, its weight may be zero.
  • The key question is whether the statement was made as soon as was practically possible given the facts of the situation and before there was a chance for instruction or concoction. The child could have complained to some women who worked in the area, but that would not be natural for a child because she would be terrified and her first instinct would be to run home to her mother, according to the court. As a result, the matter is covered by section 157 read with section 8, Illustration (j).