The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave a judgement in an rape case which will have reverberations for years to come. The apex court acquitted two people in a rape case which had been ongoing since 2001. The rape case which originated in Faridabad had claimed ten and seven years of lives of the two people respectively as they had already spent this term in jail. After suffering for years in jail, one of the accused had appealed in the Supreme Court against the judgement given by the Punjab and Haryana high court which had upheld the conviction awarded by Faridabad trial court. The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice N V Ramana and Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar acquitted the two on Tuesday and also said that the charges of rape levied on the two were not proven.
The Supreme Court while acquitting the two said, “The first accused Jai Singh has already served out the sentence imposed on him, and appellant Sham Singh has already served sentence of seven years out of the total of 10 years imposed on him.” The bench however did not explicitly address the underlying fact that the two had to spend a considerable portion of their prime years inside the jail owing to false rape charges levied on them. This is neither the first instance nor will it be the last when a woman has accused a man of raping her to settle personal scores or to take out her own personal vendetta. There has been an alarmingly growing number of cases like these where laws which were made keeping in mind the urgency to protect women have been twisted and used as a force against the men.
In this particular case a minor girl, who was related to the two, accused them of picking her up at night and raping her after tying her to a cot, physical violence too was cited by the girl. The medical reports which had taken place did not prove any substantial evidence of rape, there were no injury marks on any part of the body and there were no traces of semen. The two accused had confessed in the court that one of them had slapped the girl for having an affair with a boy from the village. Being her relatives they had tried to dissuade her from the love affair and this had led to the minor girl raising false allegations against the two. The accused had also apologised for slapping the girl in a written apology which was presented to her before the village panchayat, but the girl had insisted at the trial court that the panchayat had been called to hush up the matter and let the two accused get scot free without punishment.
A fast track court in Faridabad had indeed acquitted the two accused in March 2003, which led the girl to appeal in the High Court. The High Court of Punjab and Haryana remanded the case for fresh trials following which the two were found guilty and convicted in June 2011, a decision which was upheld by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. The judgement given by the SC makes clear that no rape had indeed taken place. The presiding Justice said, “It is amply clear that the case of the prosecution, as made out, appears to be artificial and concocted. It may not be probable to commit rape in one’s own house in front of the sister, children and mother. If in actuality the incident had taken place, the medical evidence would have gone against the accused.” The SC bench added, “The evidence of the victim/prosecutrix and her aunt are unreliable, untrustworthy inasmuch as they are not credible witnesses. Their evidence bristles with contradictions and is full of improbabilities. We cannot resist ourselves to place on record that the prosecution has tried to rope in the appellant merely on assumptions, surmises and conjectures.”
This instance proves the weaker position of Indian men in the judicial system today, here all women are seen firstly as the victims while men are taken to be as the aggressors. The mindset of the Indian society has come to such a point that any woman cannot be seen as the perpetrator of a crime, the onus of proving that a woman is guilty falls on the ones who accuse her. The public sympathy lies on the side of the female and this is not just restricted to allegations of rape raised, from molestation on buses to charges of domestic violence and dowry, men are and will continue to be seen as the accused without any doubt. It has almost become a pre conceived notion that a woman cannot commit a crime in India, this girl who has managed to destroy the lives of the two men should be sent to prison for ruining the lives of men and their families. This will set a precedent for the days to come and it is high time that the addition of a law which punishes women for false allegations raised on men too must be thought upon. A judgement by Bridgeport Superior Court in Connecticut which sentenced a woman to a year of jail for making false rape claim needs to be seen as an example by the Indian judiciary and lawmakers.