Flagging the issue in a judgment on Saturday, Justice Kailash Gambhir said rape cases are being used as “a weapon for vengeance and vendetta” to harass and even force a boy to marry.
While granting anticipatory bail to a man facing rape charges from a woman claiming to be his wife, HC added that in many cases woman first has consensual sex but later files rape case against her boyfriend when the relationship breaks up in order to force him to get married, making not only “mockery” of the marriage but also inflating the statistics of rape cases.
“Many of the cases are being reported by those women who have consensual physical relationship with a man but when the relationship breaks due to one reason or the other, the women use the law as a weapon for vengeance and personal vendetta to extort money and sometimes even to force the boy to get married to her,” HC said advocating extreme caution to judges who should “cautiously examine the intentions of the girl to find out whether the rape complaint is genuine or has malafide motives”.
Earlier this week, Justice G P Mittal and Justice Suresh Kait in separate judgments quashed FIR’s relating to rape of a minor and gang-rape of a private executive respectively, after they found too many discrepancies or contradictions in victims’ statements. The common theme in all three judgments was the advice to courts not to get swayed by mere allegations of rape, howsoever heinous, but sift through evidence before convicting anyone.
Justice Gambhir, while dealing with the anticipatory bail plea pointed out that for a period of more than two years, the woman enjoyed physical intimacy with the boy. She lodged an FIR alleging rape only when he spurned her offer of marriage when she took help of the police to forcibly marry him even though the marriage was never consummated, as per the FIR.
In her complaint, she justified the delay on the grounds she was threatened and blackmailed by the boy and his kin to keep quiet otherwise she might have been killed. Being the victim of such a reprehensible crime, one should lodge a complaint immediately, or within a reasonable period of time unless there are sufficient reasons to explain the long delay, the court said.
“Delay in lodging an FIR, in such like cases can ultimately diminish the chances of conviction, as due to such delay, the medical evidence and the other circumstantial evidence may rarely be available to support the case of prosecution,” it said.
While acknowledging there is a manifold increase in the crime concerning rapes, HC said all the rape cases which are filed have their “own individual story and factual matrix”. It agreed most of the cases may be genuine, wherein the girl is a victim of the horrifying crime, or has been forced, blackmailed, threatened to enter into physical relationship with a male on the false pretext of marriage with the sole intent to physically exploit the girl “but there may be cases where both persons out of their own will and choice, develop a physical relationship”.