Court drops rape charges in Hathras case. Here’s what lawyers think

Unfortunate that semen considered conclusive evidence for rape in this country, says deceased Dalit woman’s lawyer.

ByAkanksha Kumar
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A special court in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday acquitted three persons and convicted one in the 2020 Hathras rape and murder case.

A 19-year-old Dalit woman had died at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital in September, 2020, two weeks after she was allegedly gangraped and assaulted in Hathras. The incident had raised several questions on the law and order situation in UP under the Yogi Adityanath government, with the woman’s body being forcefully cremated by the police. Amid outrage, the case was later handed over to the CBI.

Over two years later, the special court has now dropped rape charges while convicting one of the suspects of culpable homicide and under the SC/ST Act. The CBI was unable to bolster its case against the suspects even though a delay in the lodging of FIR as well as collection of forensic samples was widely reported on. But why?

“This could be due to overreliance on circumstantial evidence,” said Mahipal Singh, among the lawyers representing the Dalit woman’s side. “It’s unfortunate that in this country, semen is considered as conclusive evidence for rape,” said Seema Kushwaha, the woman’s counsel.

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