KEY POINTS

  • The 21-year-old woman was allegedly raped by a neighbor while she was attending a special school
  • A judge set aside the victim's statement as it was recorded by an official without the assistance of a special interpreter
  • The judge ordered that a new statement be recorded and that a woman magistrate should record it this time

An Indian court on Monday set aside the statement of a 21-year-old alleged rape victim, who is mentally challenged, as it was recorded by an official in August without the assistance of a special interpreter.

Justice M. Nirmal Kumar of the Madras High Court set aside the statement recorded by the XVIII Metropolitan Magistrate in the Saidapet neighborhood of Chennai, India, on Aug. 25, The Hindu reported.

The justice ordered a new recording of a statement from the alleged rape victim under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, according to the outlet

Kumar directed prosecutors to approach the chief metropolitan magistrate to nominate another magistrate to record the new statement.

The judge also insisted that a woman should be nominated since the victim — a 10th-grade student at a special school in Chennai — would have to explain the alleged sexual assault in detail.

Additionally, Kumar made it clear that a special educator or interpreter — preferably the alleged victim's school teacher with whom she was comfortable — should be permitted to assist the magistrate in recording the statement.

The rape case had been registered at the All Women Police Station at Mylapore in Chennai on Aug. 15, according to the judge. The case was booked at the instance of the alleged victim’s mother who had accused their neighbor Dinesh Kumar of taking advantage of her daughter's condition and raping her while the 21-year-old was attending school.

The judge's recent order came after a petition filed before the high court by the alleged victim's mother, who claimed that her daughter's medical condition necessitated the assistance of a trained individual to interpret her statement, a report by the Indian Express said.

The metropolitan magistrate in Chennai, however, refused to ask for help from an interpreter despite the presence of a special educator who teaches the alleged rape victim at a special school in the city, according to the outlet.

According to the petition, the girl's mother feared that the magistrate's interpretation of the statement may help clear the accused of the charges.

The alleged victim went through several rounds of medical examinations and was made to undergo a psychiatric assessment at Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital in Chennai, where her intelligence quotient was assessed. She was later found to be suffering from moderate intellectual disability.

man-5710164_1920 Representation. Justice M Nirmal Kumar of the Madras High Court ordered for a new recording from an alleged rape victim after her initial statement was recorded without the help of a special interpreter. Photo: Pixabay