A petition has been filed in the Bombay High Court by a couple who were formerly in a relationship, seeking guidelines to ensure that people are not booked under false charges of rape after a love affair turns sour.
The 20 year old girl, who is one of the petitioners in the case, had decided to file a complaint against her 34 year old partner(second petitioner)after she realized that he was married and his promises of marrying her were false. It was the case of the girl that her statement was recorded at the Khar Police Station on March 3, 2015 in Marathi. Although she intended to get him booked under charges of cheating, the police ended up booking him under Sections 376(punishment for rape), 377(unnatural offences) and 417(cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.
After realizing that her former partner was incorrectly booked under charges of rape, the petitioner decided to write to the investigating officer and sought further recording of her statement. This request was denied as the IO said that police had already filed a chargesheet in the matter. A petition was filed before the High Court seeking quashing of the FIR, this petition was allowed and FIR was quashed. Now the petitioners are seeking guidelines to be framed to ensure abuse of the legal process in cases where two consenting adults are involved.
Last year a similar PIL was filed by Association for Aiding Justice seeking similar guidelines to prevent booking of persons under false rape charges. Although one aspect of the present petition differs from the earlier petition, there is prayer in the present petition for allowing recording of statements in the preferred language of the complainant, which can be in Hindi or English, apart from Marathi.
Majlis Manch, an NGO co-founded by women’s rights lawyer Flavia Agnes had intervened in the earlier petition. Speaking to Livelaw, Agnes cautioned against painting all rape cases with the same brush, she said- “After the 2013 amendment in the law, rape cases are filed by the police based on a complaint by the victim. There is tremendous pressure on the victim in such cases. We have to understand these cases in a nuanced manner, it cannot be simply said that girls are filing false cases.”
She also said that a mistake in recording of statement by the police cannot be a reason for not filing a case.
Mahesh Vaswani and Sapna Kode will be appearing for the petitioners in the case once it comes up for hearing after the court re-opens post vacation on January 4.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.