"Rape is the most morally and physically reprehensible crime in a society, as it is an assault on the body, mind and privacy of the victim. While a murderer destroys the physical frame of the victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female," a bench of justices B S Chauhan and Dipak Misra said.
It observed that rape is a crime against the entire society and a victim cannot be said to be an accomplice in the offence.
"Rape reduces a woman to an animal, as it shakes the very core of her life. By no means can a rape victim be called an accomplice. Rape leaves a permanent scar on the life of the victim, and therefore, a rape victim is placed on a higher pedestal than an injured witness. Rape is a crime against the entire society and violates the human rights of the victim," the bench said.
It passed the order while deciding an appeal filed by a rape convict challenging his conviction and seven-year jail term. The bench allowed the plea of the accused and set aside conviction and the prison term.
The court expressed concern over rape incidents and said that it causes not only physical but also psychological harm to the victims.
"Being the most-hated crime, rape tantamounts to a serious blow to the supreme honour of a woman, and offends both, her esteem and dignity. It causes psychological and physical harm to the victim, leaving upon her indelible marks," it said.