Association for aiding Justice, an NGO has approached the Bombay HC with a prayer seeking “statutory guidelines for the Police authority for entertaining complaint lodged for rape on the allegation of false promise of marriage” and “guidelines for conducting preliminary enquiry complaint of rape lodged on the allegation of false promise of marriage.”
The petition states, “Rape in India is the fourth most common crime against women in India. According to the National Crime Records Bureau 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. Out of these, 24,470 were committed by relative or neighbour; in other words, the victim knew the alleged rapist in 98 per cent of the cases.”
Relying on the data provided by the National Crime Records Bureau, the petition states, “According to National Crime Records Bureau of India, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012, while the 5 year average over 2007-2011 was 22,000 rapes a year. Adjusted for population growth over time, the annual rape rate in India has increased from 1.9 to 2.0 per 100,000 people over 2008-2012 period. This compares to a reported rape rate of 1.2 per 100,000 in Japan, 3.6 per 100,000 in Morocco, 4.6 rapes per 100,000 in Bahrain, 12.3 per 100,000 in Mexico, 24.1 per 100,000 in United Kingdom, 28.6 per 100,000 in United States, and world's highest rate of 114.9 rapes per 100,000 in South Africa.”
However, while hearing the petition, the Bombay HC observed, "No person can be stopped from filing a complaint." It added, "The law says that when a complaint discloses a cognizable complaint, the police have to lodge a first information report (FIR). There can be an argument that guidelines need to be in place when such a complaint is filed, but these have to be based on Supreme Court judgments."
Advocate Dipesh Siroya appeared for the Petitioner NGO and submitted, "There is a need to frame statutory guidelines for the police and other authorities for conducting a preliminary inquiry while entertaining a complaint lodged for rape on the allegation of false promise of marriage.”
Saying that a number of false rape cases are being filed in the country, the petition states, “the Petitioner states that while in 2012, the acquittal rate in rape cases was 46%, in the first eight months of 2013 (for which exact figures are available) it shot up to 75%. It was noted by experts that acquittals remain high this year as well, accounting for around 70% of the cases. Legal experts say the high acquittal rates are because of a spurt in the number of false rape cases being filed. The observations of judges in acquittal cases also bear this out.”
The petitioner has said that false promise of marriage concept should be an exception as it is mostly taken up by women to register false cases even though the sex was consensual. The petition also relies on a number of newspaper reports and illustrations and says, “technically, there is no clause in the Indian Penal Code that specifically labels the breach of a marriage promise as rape.”
However, while hearing the matter, the bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice S B Shukre asked the Petitioner to suggest draft guidelines and posted the matter for the next date of hearing.
Read the petition here.