“Even the false accusations of a person of dubious morality can taint the reputation of an upright man.”
In this growing world where rights of a women are being discussed at every nook and corner, let’s take a moment to talk a bit about other side of the coin i.e., of a man who is labelled to be a culprit always. False rape allegations which is intentional reporting of a rape by an alleged victim when no rape has actually occurred has been in existence as long as the concept of rape but it has become a major issue in recent times because now stricter laws have been made to check this crime and handful of powers have been given to women fraternity for the prevention of such acts but as it is rightly said ‘when there is power, there exists abuse’, thus, while these laws and rights are expected to be used in a Bonafede manner, these are getting abused by some women and is being used as a malice weapon.
False allegations to be viewed as a singular instance of gender related lying which often serves functions for : providing an alibi (means of getting revenge) and a platform for seeking attention or sympathy. Thus, false rape allegations can’t just be said to be consequences of gender related aberration but can also be a reflection of impulsive and desperate efforts by women to cope with personal and social stress. Another root for such false allegations arise when two have had consensual sexual relations but when found by the parents, the girl side in order to protect the honour of their house files false rape or sexual assault charges upon the male, this is also practiced by the girl herself in order to protect her character but sometimes the one whose character and reputation suffers is that of man as no one imagines a female to be on guilty side as it is rightly said that – “A man is guilty until proven innocent and a women is innocent until proven guilty”.
Yes, there is no denial about how much sufferings women had into this patriarchal world. Measures are also been taken by government to remove these heinous crimes from the society, one such step taken was the enforcement of section 375 of Indian penal code and the recent one is The criminal law (Amendment) act,2013, but somehow the powers given to females in these have become a threat to menfolk. Sec. 375 of IPC was introduced to protect women from such evil crime but after the incident of Nirbhaya rape case, high outrage of people for more stricter laws led to amendment in criminal law, according to which now the burden of proof of incident was shifted from complainant to accused, to prove that allegations made against him are malicious. Section 375 focus majorly on two terms i.e., ‘will’ and ‘consent’ but abuse of this happens when women give their verbal consent to the act and later denies or never indulges into an act but states to have been forcefully indulged by the accused, in both cases accused is the one who bears the burden of proof and gets trapped.
The false allegation cases got a raise after introduction of The criminal law (amendment) act,2013 as it widened the scope of sec 375. According to this, just a statement of a women can put a men behind the bars.
- As can be seen in case called ‘Bathinda rape case’ where a women concocted a story of her kidnapping from Chandigarh and dumping her after gang raping in the moving car turned out to be a false story where the complainant had consensual sex with her boyfriend in order to prove rape so that she can put the blame upon her enemies.
- The Delhi commission of women in 2014 published a report which stated that among all the rape cases filed between April’13 to July’14, 53.2% of them turned out to be false. The report also stated that the acquittal rate in 2012 was 45% however it took the jump of 22% in single year and turned to 76% in 2013.
One of the recent happening that led a concerned eye over this sensitive issue is the ‘Me too movement’ that became a source for many women to open up about their stories of sexual harassments and filed cases against the accused but if looked keenly, there were many allegations that were carried with malice and had no true story. It can be cited that even the ex CJI of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi was booked for sexual assault case filed by former staff, he was then cleared of sexual harassment charges by an in-house panel of Justice S.A. Bobde, this case not just impacted the reputation of Justice Gogoi but also had a great impact on the image of Indian judiciary. If it happens with a common man, then it for sure takes a toll on not just his reputation but also on his career and further opportunities, family ties and mental health.
There exist no such guidelines dealing with the reporting of such fake cases for ex – in a case of false rape allegation that was registered by a women when her husband learnt of her sexual relations with other men which were consensual by her side too, Delhi High court said that ‘ action must be taken against women who misused the power of law’ and booked her under section 182 of IPC and through the same, it can be seen how such cases are dealt through common laws as no specified laws exists to deal with the exploitation of men. The biggest space for inequality in our legal system can be felt when one comes to know that in our system a women can book a men for conducting rape but same cannot be done by a men against a women. According to trial judge in a case: ‘a lady’s mere statement that she has been raped was taken as a gospel truth, accused being detained and guilty of rape’. It is important to tackle this acute issue with stern action by sensitising women activists and women right committees at state and national level to tackle this challenge of false rape cases effectively in timely manner. A variety of changes to the criminal justice system is informed by the apprehension of false rape and sexual assault cases. The idea that policy recommendations must be focused on inaccurate data does also prevent a challenge, since such data can lead to needless or mistaken criminal justice changes. The phenomenon of false allegations of rape concerns both the prosecution and the enforcement of law. Thus, equality and sanity will prevail when law will support.
The heads who fabricated the section 375 of Indian penal code and also The Criminal (Amendment)ACT,2013 had only one sided concern in their minds. However, to check the issue, section 375 cannot be gender neutral as it will be acting as a hurdle for the women who need to register for the genuine complains and this would not help anyone,thus, our legislature and judiciary should come together to make a proper balance between the rights of women and that of men too to ensure that they get served properly by the virtue of law.
To ensure the same, a step that can be take is that judiciary and legislature should focus on something like ‘perjury in rape case policy’. The policy should be designed to provide justice to the innocent and punishment(imprisonment) to the real culprit and it should be long enough to make it a point that if equality exists in opportunities than in wrong doing too, along with this, guilty women should also be ordered to compensate the damages suffered by men during the trial, this may include court fees, litigation fees and other liquidated damages along with a fine for compensating the loss of reputation and honour of men in the society. However, it may not sound acceptable to all but still this model can serve in the best interest of justice and will keep up with our legal system until any specified laws are designed for men accused in such crimes like that of women.
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