This Article is written by Akshma Gupta (currently pursuing my B.A, LLB degree from the University of Petroleum & Energy Studies, Dehradun)
Meaning of Rape
Rape is defined as “Illicit sexual activity, and generally sexual relations, carried out by force or with the threat of harm against the will of a person or with a person who has not reached a certain age or a valid disability, due to insanity, mental weakness, intoxication, loss of conscience or deception”[i]. Rape in India has taken a lot of media coverage after the gang rape of a Delhi Student in 2012. Rape is a heinous crime committed. It’s a sexual assault involving sexual intercourse with a person against their consent or will. The National Crime Records Bureau or NCRB release an annual report every year which shows the data related to crime committed against the women in India and according to that report one of the most common crimes committed against the women is rape.
Indian Penal Code defines Rape under section 375as “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.”[ii]
In Sakshi v. UOI[iii], the supreme court held that only heterosexual intercourse i.e., penial and vaginal penetration will be considered as rape under section 375 of the Indian Penal code. The court said that there can be many other forms of sexual abuse and therefore penetration is necessary to constitute an offence as Rape.
However, it was held in the case Smt. Sudesh Jhaku v. K.C.J. & Ors[iv], that insertion of a foreign object such as a bottle into the female vagina will be considered punishable under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code.
The question of consent arises as that how to consider whether the consent was given or not. For this section 114A of the Indian Evidence Act is referred. According to this section: “a compulsory statutory presumption has been created that requires the courts to presume that consent is absent if such a claim is made by the victim. No further burden lies upon the victim to establish the absence of consent”.[v]
After the Delhi Gang rape case, the definition of rape was expanded and forceful insertion of foreign objects was also included within the definition of Rape.
Indian Penal Code provides punishment for rape under section 376. This section provides imprisonment of not less than 7 years for the offence of rape. The punishment may be extended to life imprisonment depending upon the facts and circumstances.[vi] In cases where the murder has been committed or the nature of the case is considered as “Rarest to rare”, a death sentence is provided.
Indian Laws have provided strict punishments against such a heinous crime but the laws are used in a wrong way by the females. Females put false allegations of rape and such allegations have the potential to destroy someone’s life and career. The accused of such false allegation loses their honour and pride in society. “These processes are initiated by unscrupulous litigants in the hope that the other party will surrender their demands out of fear or embarrassment. If wrongdoers do not face the consequences of their actions, it would be difficult to avoid such frivolous litigation,” Judge Subramonium Prasad said in a ruling.[vii]
“False accusations and reports of harassment and rape must also be handled with an iron fist due to the seriousness of the crime. These lawsuits are initiated by unscrupulous parties to the dispute in the hope that the other party will capitulate out of fear or embarrassment at their claims.,” said Justice Prasad[viii].
The primary motive for false rape allegations include:
- Personal Gain – Accusers who make fake rape reviews are comparable in character to people that purposely slip and fall in a public location to report a lawsuit. This sort of fake rape accuser frequently claims a sexual attack on authorities’ belongings or with the aid of using a central authority employee.
- Mental Illness – People who’ve extreme psychosis were regarded to allege times of rape that in no way took location. Many of those fake accusers have a character sickness that compels them to make fictitious attack claims.
- Revenge – Revenge is some other not unusual place reason for fake rape accusations. What might also additionally marvel several people, however, is the truth that this revenge nearly in no way is in reaction to being dumped with the aid of using the accused. The ability motives for those revenge accusations are endless.
People who file false allegations must be punished under sections 203, 211, 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code.
Section 203 states: “Anyone who knows or has reason to believe that a crime has been committed, provides information about this crime that he or she knows or believes to be false, will be punished with imprisonment of any kind for up to two years or with a fine or both.”[ix]
Section 211 states: “False charge of bodily harm with intent to cause harm. – Anyone who initiates or has initiated a criminal process against a person with the intention of causing harm, or falsely accuses a person of the commission of a crime, knowing that there is no just or legitimate cause for such processes or accusations with which this person is sanctioned. imprisonment of any kind for up to two years or with a fine or both; and if said criminal proceedings are initiated for a falsely charged criminal offence punishable by death, 1 [life imprisonment], or a prison sentence of seven years or more, it is punishable by imprisonment of any kind up to seven years and it will impose a fine.”[x]
Section 499 states: “Defamation. – Any person who, by means of words, signs or visual, spoken or legible representations, makes or publishes accusations about any person who intends to damage the reputation of said person or who has reason to believe that said accusation will harm a person, must defame this person, except in the cases excluded below.”[xi]
Section 500 provides punishment for defamation – Anyone who defames another person is punished with a simple prison sentence of up to two years or a fine or both.”[xii]
Rape is one of the heinous crimes committed in India and the same laws are there. However, the false rape allegation cases are making it difficult for the Indian Legal System to decide on the cases whether they are true or not. It can happen that the innocent are punished and the guilty are set free and this will destroy the legal system of India. “The tragedy is that with so many bogus cases, it can be more difficult for actual rape victims to obtain justice.”
[ii]Indian Penal Code, Bare Act; https://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1860-45.pdf.
[iii]Sakshi v. UOI, 2004 Supp (2) SCR 723.
[iv]Smt. Sudesh Jhaku v. K.C.J. & Ors,1996 (38) DRJ 22.
[v]Indian Evidence Act, Bare Act; https://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1872-01.pdf.
[vi]Indian Penal Code, Bare Act; https://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1860-45.pdf.
[ix]Indian Penal Code, Bare Act; https://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1860-45.pdf.
[x]Indian Penal Code, Bare Act; https://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1860-45.pdf.
[xi]Indian Penal Code, Bare Act; https://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1860-45.pdf.
[xii]Indian Penal Code, Bare Act; https://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1860-45.pdf.