MOVIE REVIEW OF ‘sECTION 375’ (plot, legal provisions, realism, REVIEW)

PLOT:

         “Law is not equal to justice , justice is an ideal and law is a tool to get there” 

Anjali Dangle, an aspiring Costume designer from a humble background works under an eminent Bollywood director Rohan Khurana in Mumbai. On July 8th Anjali goes to the police station to file a complaint stating she was raped as well as brutally physically assaulted by Rohan at his residence when she had been sent by her senior to show him costume samples for his next movie. Rohan’s wife hires Tarun Saluja, a notable Criminal Barrister who has an impeccable record and Anjali hires Hiral Gandhi, a fiery, ambitious lawyer who is a torch bearer for woman rights. The movie focuses on the trial in Bombay High Court and how even though the defence council makes meritorious and compelling arguments, the law sides with the victim. 

The whole movie spirals around how woman use law as a weapon , which was  truly and solely made to protect them. It highlights the sad affair of the Indian Judicial System and how woman wrongly use their gender and file false accusations of rape as a last resort to quench their thirst for vengeance.

LEGAL PROVISIONS USED IN THE MOVIE:

There were several legal provisions used from the Indian Penal Code, 1862,  and The Indian evidence act, 1872 in the movie, such as: 

  • Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code: Defines rape as “sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent, by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped, or is of unsound mental health and in any case if she is under 18 years of age.”
  • Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code “Punishment for sexual assault – 1 (a) whoever, except in the cases provided for by sub-section (2) commits sexual assault shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code “Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
  • Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code: Punishment for criminal intimidation. —Whoever commits, the offence of criminal intimidation shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both; If threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, etc.
  • Indian Evidence Act Section 114 A: where sexual intercourse by the accused is proved and the question is whether it was without the consent of the woman alleged to have been raped and such woman states in her evidence before the court that she did not consent, the court shall presume that she did not consent.

REALISM :

In India 75% of the people who are accused of rape are declared innocent in the end of the trial. We as people label India as the rape capital of the world but in reality we are not even in the top ten. It is certainly an unsafe country for woman, but are statistical figures enough to label every man walking on the road unsafe? Section 375 as a movie beautifully portrays how we should never fall in love with the law, it is a jealous mistress, one day it will disappoint you.

It truly shows us how the judicial system works and how the courts function during a rape case. 

The movie clearly portrays what Sections 375, 376,354 and 506 of IPC is about through the judgements and arguments by both the sides. It unveils the reality about how the chain of custody can be compromised and blown to smithereens and chances the evidence could have been tampered and tainted by the carelessness of a police officer . It spotlights how people can lie under the oath and twist and hide important facts to win the case. Section 375 gives everyone a clear understanding about how judges make decisions in important judgements like these and also how the people’s reaction to the case also matters. It clearly shows how society automatically sympathises with the victim and how the accused even before being declared guilty by the high court is declared a rapist by the Hon’ble courts of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

REVIEW :

Section 375 shows us how a false accusation case is an another nail in the coffin of a real one. It drives the agenda home when the alleged victim Anjali Dangle talks to her defence lawyer after the trial. She says “What Rohan said was right, it was not a rape , but it wasn’t lesser than a rape”. It was proved in court in no uncertain terms that there was an affair going on, and when she felt her job and place in his life was being threatened, she resorted to revenge out of pure jealousy. Undoubtedly, Rohan Khurana used his power to manipulate her,  but if a man and woman are having an affair even though the beginning of the affair was not under fair circumstances, the continuation and the empty jealousy shown during the movie proves will and consent there-after. 

I applaud the efforts taken by the script writer for the defence council’s arguments. The way the chain of custody being compromised, bribery being involved, evidence on the crime scene like the Mogra flowers being used  and how 22 minutes cannot be enough to remove those tight jeans when the victim was retaliating and struggling and how the scratch marks were shown to be on the accused’s back proving them to be marks during an act of pleasure and not self-defence because when a woman is defending herself from an assaulter, she usually scratches the face and front of the body but not back. 

The way Anjali twists the story about her bruises and how hides the fact that she was beaten up by her brother and lying about taking the elevator on the day of the mishap shows how she is an unreliable witness and even spotlights the lengths she goes to prove him guilty. Due to the burden of proof being on the accused makes it very difficult to prove that the consent and will was present which makes it a very sad affair. 

The very start of the movie shows a glimpse of the end, it shows how Hiral felt defending a dishonest client, the torch bearer of woman rights faced the harsh reality . The verdict finally upholds the law and states that if an man uses his position of power and if sexual intercourse is medically proven and the victim comes to court and states that it was against her will and consent then they side with the victim if no concrete evidence is shown otherwise. In the very end like Tarun said , we are not in the business of justice, we are in the business of the law. 

As a law student I have learnt that despite the fact that one maybe innocent it does not always mean that one will be acquitted by the courts. I also have come to the conclusion that you may not know who your client truly is. Losing is a part and parcel of the game, in the future I may lose cases but that does not mean I give up my faith in law.

Image source: ichowk

Aishwarya Says:

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