oppn parties What Should Be Done In Case Of False Rape Cases?

News Snippets

  • The government says Covid-19 is still in local transmission stage in India
  • Government scotches rumours of extending the lockdown beyond April14. Says no such plan
  • Centre asks states to give shelter and food to migrant workers to stop them from taking to the streets
  • RBI cuts repo rate by 75 bps, the steepest in 10 years
  • Centre writes to states regarding laxity in monitoring people who had arrived from abroad between January and March
  • Kerala reports a spurt in new cases
  • With 124 fresh cases on Friday, the number of reported cases in India stand at 854
  • Five of a family, including a 9-month-old-baby test positive for Covid-19 in Nadia district in West Bengal on Friday
  • The Pakistani army is reportedly forcibly moving all Covid-19 patients to PoK and Gilgit
  • Untimely azaans in J&K mosques spark panic gathering
  • Stocks rise - Sensex up by 1400 points and Nifty goes above the 8600 mark
  • Rahul Gandhi says the economic package is "the first step in the right direction"
  • The government announces wide-ranging measures to help the poor overcome the economic hardship caused by Covid-19
  • G20 leaders to hold a virtual meeting today to explore ways of fighting Covid-19 in a coordinated manner
  • The Delhi government orders testing of all medical staff after the positive test on a Delhi mohalla clinic doctor
Death toll reaches 27 as Covid-19 cases across India reach 974 on Saturday
oppn parties
What Should Be Done In Case Of False Rape Cases?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2018-08-23 19:33:33

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
After more than 10 years, the Supreme Court has acquitted two brothers who were found guilty of raping a (then) minor girl. But the persons have already served a long time in prison and their best years are gone – for no fault of theirs. Is acquittal a fair form of justice for them? Also, what about the accuser? Should she be let off without any punishment for making this false complaint and destroying their lives? What about investigating officers or public prosecutors and even the judge who delivered the wrong judgment? What should the law do in such a case?

In the instant case, in August 2001, a minor girl complained that two uncles of her took her to their home and raped her in the presence of their family after tying her to a cot. Since the medical report did not substantiate rape, the trial court acquitted the accused. But the girl appealed to the High Court which ordered a retrial. The accused were convicted in the retrial and the High Court upheld the conviction. Since then, pending their appeal in the apex court, the accused have been spending time in jail.

On examining the material on record, the Supreme Court was scathing in blaming the prosecution for relying on “assumptions, surmises and conjectures.” It also termed the evidence of the ‘victim’ and her aunts as “unreliable and untrustworthy” as it was full of “contradictions and improbabilities”. Hence, the court released the accused as not guilty. In setting aside the previous judgment, the court said that “the findings of the courts below do not deserve the merit of acceptance or approval in our hands with regard to glaring infirmities and illegalities vitiating them and the patent errors apparent on the face of record resulting in serious and grave miscarriage of justice to the appellant”.

While this is good news for the accused, is this fair justice? Who will compensate for the years they lost in jail for a crime they did not commit? Or the loss of reputation they have suffered? How should the law deal with the girl who filed the false charge or her family who gave false evidence? Is prosecuting them under sections 182, 193, 195 and 211 of IPC and section 340 of CrPC enough, or is it even necessary? One thinks that once the Supreme Court decides that the rape case does not stand, the contrary is also true – that the charge that was filed was false. Hence, there is no need to linger the case by prosecuting the accuser and her co-conspirators under the above section. The charge of falsely filing the case is proven by the Supreme Court order. They must be arrested forthwith and given the maximum sentence allowed under any of the above sections. In addition, they must be made to pay the accused for the time spent in jail by applying a formula of how much they would have earned if they were working. The law can be suitably amended to carry this out.

The apex court must also think of a way to punish the prosecutors and investigating officers as it seems to be a clear case of building a false case for favours received. If, as the Supreme Court has said, the previous judgments were so full of “patent errors apparent on the face of record resulting in serious and grave miscarriage of justice to the appellant” then the court must also devise a way to punish judges who delivered those judgments. No one should be allowed to play games with investigation, prosecution and justice as it seems to have been done in this case.