A recent decision by the Delhi High Court in a case of alleged rape last week should come as a great relief not only to the alleged culprit but also to the police.
A man, barely 22 had been handed over a seven years RI by a lower court on the complaint of a woman, a mother of three that she had been sexually assaulted under the false promise of marriage by the culprit. The High Court let the man go free saying that the woman who was married, although living alone, could not have been unaware of the consequences of her actions when she indulged in these acts with the man, she was not lured against her will.
Looking at the frequency of such complaints there has been another landmark judgment by the Delhi High Court which went so far as to order a penalty for women who lodge false cases of sexual assault.
True or False?
This has also been confirmed by a report of the Delhi Commission for Women which reported last year that 53.2% of the rape cases filed between April 2013 and July 2014 in the capital had been found to be false.
Giving statistics this report said that between April 2013 and July 2014, of the 2,753 complaints of rape, only 1,287 cases were found to be true, and the remaining 1,464 cases were fake.
The Delhi Commission of Women has said that despite this report it was investigating each complaint of sexual assault to ensure that the victims got justice. However it stated that the problem was that in many such cases such cases the complainant turned hostile and personal revenge turned out to be the most common motive for filing a false complaint.
In all, in 2013 there was a total of 1,559 cases of rape in Delhi, where the acquittal rate was 78 per cent which was a 22 per cent jump from the earlier 46 per cent acquittals in 2012.
The court wanted the probe to ascertain whether the officer was “misusing her official position” or there was a genuine lapse of security at her house at the Judges’ Compound at Aligarh, an area with round the clock surveillance and security.
Last year a Delhi Court had said that it was “Becoming a very difficult job, nowadays for the courts to differentiate the genuine rape cases form the false ones,” while acquitting the four of a family accused in the case.
This writer had very recently had the occasion to interact with the DCP South-East M S Randhawa. He complained that “ The biggest problem with us is that we get at least 60 per cent cases which are cases of live-in relationships but we have to register them and sometimes we feel that because of these cases we are not able to investigate the genuine cases as much as we would like to ,”he said.
What Should be Done?
Lawyers and social workers are however divided on the issue because there is a lot of ambiguity on this matter especially when a live in couple has children from the relationship. But some NGOs fighting for women rights argue that the police cannot shirk its responsibility just because some cases turn out to be false. All such cases must be investigated thoroughly to get to the bottom of the truth, they demand.
Yet another problem that is creating confusion and leading to a reportedly ‘doubling’ of rape cases in the country are cases of elopement where the father of the girl lodges cases of rape once the couple returns home or when they are located months after their marriage.
This becomes a very serious offence when the girl is a minor and let me tell you from my personal knowledge there are a lot many cases of child marriages happening in the country than we care or rather dare to admit even in 2015.
By Amitabh Srivastava