The spectre of false rape allegations have significantly changed the attitude of people towards the alleged rape cases. The rape allegations are easily made but it is hard to prove it in a Court of Law and even harder to defend it once the onus of proof shifts from the plaintiff to the defendant. The Amendment Act of 2013 has enlarged the scope of laws related to sexual offences under IPC, Evidence Act, and CrPC. The Amendment was introduced with an intention to ease the process of justice for victims of sexual offences. However, the statistics shows that with a rise in reported sexual offence cases there is also a rise fake allegations on sexual offences. The reason behind the increased false allegations does lies in the pattern of situation faced by women in society.
The norms of society does contribute towards the increased false allegation cases on sexual offences. Many feminist theories does point out that for women intercourse is actually a way to avail the marriage privileges. Generally, it is seen that when women find themselves in a dilemma when they are rejected by a man, they do choose to go with a false sexual offence case typically, a rape case in order to project their anger, insecurity, or prevent their persona being deeply affected in society. These very instances have also resulted in a dilemma for feminists, judiciary, and public at large when they try to concentrate on the justice of rape victims and in contrary face a case where it was all staged and planned to mislead a court of law for their own personal differences.
Sec. 114 A of the Evidence Act states that where in a case a sexual intercourse has been proved and the women claims that it was non-consensual, then the Court shall presume that consent was not there. In the case of Nawab Khan vs. State, the Court observed that where a women claims that a sexual intercourse was non-consensual and the accused refuses to accept that fact, then the onus of burden of proof will lie on the accused to prove that the sexual intercourse was consensual. It is often seen that the evidences on rape cases is highly dependent on the medical examination. The admissibility of same is dealt u/s 45 of the Evidence Act.
After the case of Mukesh and Anr. vs. State for NCT of Delhi, the Amendment Act of 2013 was introduced. The major changes made in Sec. 375 of IPC included an extended definition of rape which required penetration into any part of victim’s body. Penetration by an object was included in definition of rape. The onus of prove was shifted from women to men on proving his innocent. The punishment for the offence was increased to 20 years of imprisonment which even extend to life depending upon the circumstances of the case. The work ‘will’ was included in the definition indicating willingness for intercourse as an essential.
The Amendment provided power to women to acquire justice in relation to sexual offence cases. To the contrary, it also provided women, a way to abuse such power for personal enmity and benefits against men. Out of every 4 rape cases advanced against men only 1 is proven to be rape. The conviction rate of entire country in relation to the offence of Rape is 32%. The reason behind such low rate of conviction underlies in inefficiency of legal system and false allegations. The Amendment which was brought to safeguard the justice system for women have been used as an instrument to abuse the power in order to get back on men by falsely accusing them. The media trials have been taking place because of which the society treats the accused as a culprit. He is treated as an offender until he is proven to be innocent by a Court of law.
In Raju vs. State of M.P., the court stated that the legal proceedings can be stressful for the victim but a false allegation on accused is also equally stressful for him. An arrest and detention of an accused in a case can cause an immense stress and harm to one’s reputation. As a consequence of a fake allegation of a women, an accused’s reputation in society gets tainted and he suffers from an immense mental trauma because of which it is often seen that victims of fake allegation take a dreadful step to end his life. The damage caused to one’s mind and reputation is irreparable. Therefore, it becomes important to discuss the problem of fake allegations of rape cases along with the solution for the existing problem of a heinous offence like rape.
The Indian Penal Code has formed a set of laws for prosecution who deliberately presents a fake case in the Court of law, or presents fake evidences against an innocent person. The person who tampers with time of judiciary and causes inconvenience to an innocent person by bringing in a fake cases for their personal differences, is held liable under the Indian Penal Code. Sec. 182 of IPC penalises a person who deliberately provides an information to any public servant knowing it to be false. The imprisonment for such offences extends to 6 months, or rupees one thousand fine, or both the punishment can be imposed together. Causing an obstruction in the work of public servant attracts sec. 186. The same is punishable by imposing a fine of rupees 500, or 3 months imprisonment, or with both. A person who is bound by an oath to speak the truth on a matter of fact relevant in the case, knowingly lies, would be liable under sec. 191 of IPC. The punishment for which can be up to 3 years along with fine Sec. 193 deals with false evidences. When a person intentionally produces a false evidence in a Court of law to prove or support a case would be subjected imprisonment up to 3 and 7 years respectively, along with a fine. Sec. 195 deals with offences which are punishable with an imprisonment of 7 or more years.
The person who falsely produces an evidence in a case against the accused in which, the accused if found guilty, would be subjected to an imprisonment of 7 or more years shall also be subjected to a punishment adequate to one which was applicable on the accused. Under sec. 196 of the IPC, a person who knowingly attempts to produce a false evidence in a Court of Law is punished in a similar manner as in case he actually would have produced such false evidence. Sec. 199 and 200 of IPC penalises for false declarations made or an attempt made for it by a person with an intention to cause conviction of another. Furthermore, sec. 211 of IPC penalises a person who makes a false charge against a person with an intent to cause harm to such person.
1. In the case of Ram Murti vs. State of Haryana, the victim gave a false statement in regards to her age. The accused in the case was an adult, a teacher and medical practitioner. It was found that he exploited his position as a teacher and medical practitioner to engage in sexual intercourse with the victim. The medical tests conducted on the victim after the rape allegations showed that there were few small injuries on her body but no external or internal injury was found conclude a case of rape. Therefore, the Court acquitted the accused of the charges of rape.
2. In Radhu vs. State of Madhya Pradesh, the Court observed that the injuries on the body of victim were not grievous enough to conclude a rape. The injuries found on her body was on arm, elbow, and leg which indicated an incident but not rape. The evidences did not form a strong connection, and if read as whole did not suffice for concluding the offence of rape.
3. In Abbas Ahmed Choudhury v. State of Assam, the case was of sexual assault wherein, the whole evidence produced by the victim was through her own story. The court observed that the Court is under obligation to believe a victim’s statement but there is no such obligation that her story shall be considered as a gospel truth. The Court for her testimony to be disrupted and at the same time the allegation was not found to be adequate enough to prove the case beyond all reasonable doubt.
4. In Harivadan Babubhai Patel vs. State of Gujarat, the Court observed that the cases which are based on circumstantial evidences, the Court must conclude a case based on it only if the circumstantial evidences are such that no other inference can be drawn from it and there is no possibility of accused to innocent. If there is a slightest chance of accused to be innocent, then the benefit of doubt shall be granted. The guilt of accused has to be proved beyond all reasonable doubts.
5. In Ramdas and Others v. State of Maharashtra, the Court observed that cases which are solely based on the testimony of the victim, the testimony shall be presumed to be true but the Court shall look for a complete circumstantial evidence in order to prove a case of rape. If the Court finds the testimony to be strong enough for conviction, only then an accused can be convicted based on it.
India is considered to be world’s most dangerous country for women to live in. The research was based on sexual offences and concentrated on the traditions that are in a way misogynist in nature. Another survey brought out the fact that almost 90% of women who are raped in India, knows the culprit. The statistical surveys based on India shows that the offence of Rape is a huge problem in the country.
After the case of Mukesh and Anr. vs. State for NCT of Delhi, the Amendment Act of 2013 was introduced. The scope of the offence of Rape of was extended and many new provisions were included in order to ease the process of justice for women. An Amendment which was brought to safeguard the justice system for women have been used as an instrument to abuse the power in order to get back on men by falsely accusing them. A mere complaint by women is sufficient for putting an innocent man behind bars. Delhi, which also known as rape capital of India, had conviction rate of approximately 53% in the year of 2013-14.
Even though, the punishment for fake allegations in cases are numerous and can be used in the cases of fake rape allegations, the punishments prescribed in IPC fail to recognise the incalculable stress and loss of reputation one experiences once he is falsely alleged for a fake rape offence. In order to solve the increasing problem of false rape accusations, the offences of presenting false evidences, lodging false charges, giving false statements needs to be dealt with rape cases separately and the punishment for the offences needs to made stricter. The glorification of a rape case by society, media causes an accused to experience a humiliation of an offender. The same glorification is not received by the accused when he is proven innocent by a Court of Law. Indian Penal Code, similarly, fails to adequately deal with the punishment for false allegation of rape cases.