Increasing number of false rape cases in India: Why don’t they spare innocent men?

“Within the premises that weren’t safe for an intimate act, they were but forced to follow their instincts. However, suddenly from nowhere there appeared a few who broke into the house and knocked at the door. For a moment they didn’t know what to do. The girl but opened the door to see a group of people including her close relatives.

The next moment, to her partner’s surprise she started crying aloud saying she was being raped. The poor man had nothing to say but was manhandled until he was fell unconscious. When he recovered he was surrounded by cops who already had arrested him for the alleged rape!”

The story is not of its first kind in India. The menace of false rape cases on the pretext of one or other has been rising since the new amendment in rape law in 2013 in India. The fact is evident from the study of court judgments delivered by the fast track courts constituted across the country including Delhi and news items appearing in the media.

Media, both print and visual, started highlighting the rape incidents, a commission was set up by the Govt. of India for suggesting a stern penalty for rapists and criminal laws were amended. New definition after the 2013 Criminal Law Amendment has widened in scope so much so that mere statement of a victim of rape may bring the alleged accused behind the bar.

In the words of the trial judge in a case “Such an atmosphere was created that the mere statement of a lady that she has been raped, came to be taken as gospel truth, the accused arrested and charge-sheeted.” This may lead to an unprecedented surge in filing of false rape cases, wherein accused had to be acquitted after a protracted trial. It is these false cases which play havoc with the crime statistics leading to the labelling of Delhi as a ‘rape capital’.

Nobody bothers to see in how many cases are the accused in fact convicted. Media turns a blind eye towards acquittals. The acquittal of an accused is not noticed at all and he continues to be labelled as a ‘rapist’ even after his honourable acquittal. There is a need for research this aspect of misuse of the newly amended law for nefarious motives against potential accused.

Media, the so-called fourth pillar of democracy can play an important role in creating awareness about provisions of law and consequences of filing false rape cases against innocent alleged accused. It is important to mention the observations of Fast Track Court Judge while acquitting the alleged accused and highlighted the role of media in the following words:

“I hope and trust that the media, which is an important pillar of our democratic setup, would strive to highlight the plight of rape accused after their acquittal by courts in the same way in which they report filing of rape cases.” Court further observed that

“Be that as it may, the accused herein is acquitted. This is all that this court can do in his favour. Rest is upon the society in general and media in particular how they would treat the accused hereafter.”

Women are becoming more educated and confident. Pre-marital sex is on the rise – a hotel chain called StayUncle offers rooms for an hour or two to couples seeking somewhere to have sex. But at the same time, so are the number of women alleging rape on a false promise of marriage.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, a total of 38,947 rape cases were reported in India in 2016. In 10,068 cases – about a quarter – the women claimed it was rape on a false promise of marriage. In many cases, false rape accusations are simply the result of parents covering up the “shame” of an unmarried daughter having sex.

Men’s rights groups and some lawyers believe these false allegations of rape by women who have been in consensual relationships trivialise the seriousness of rape. They raise plenty of questions, too. Even if a man promised to marry a woman, can he not change his mind? How can judges determine a man’s sincerity or falsity in talking of marriage?

Is there any end to the suffering of those innocent men?

(Content courtesy: The Guardian, Researchgate.net)

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