The Delhi High Court has expressed worry that there is an “alarming increase” of false cases of rape being registered “only to arm-twist the accused and make them succumb to the demands of the complainant”.
Justice Subromonium Prasad made the observation while rejecting a plea seeking to quash an First Information Report for offence of rape, in which the parties pleaded that they had amicably resolved the issue and entered into a compromise.
The court pointed out that the parties had registered cross-cases against each other for offences under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Aman Vihar police station here.
“In the present case it appears that both sides have resorted to file complaints of rape without having any sensitivity to the offence of rape,” Justice Prasad said adding, “allegations regarding offences such as one under Section 376 IPC cannot be made at the drop of a hat — in order to settle personal scores”.
“...False allegations of rape have the potential to destroy the life and career of the accused. The accused in a false case of rape loses his honour, cannot face his family and is stigmatised for life,” the High Court said.
“False claims and allegations pertaining to cases of molestation and rape need to be dealt with an iron hand due to the serious nature of the offences. Such litigations are instituted by the unscrupulous litigants in the hope that the other party will capitulate to their demands out of fear or shame,” Justice Prasad said.
“Unless wrongdoers are not made to face the consequences of their actions, it would be difficult to prevent such frivolous litigations,” the judge remarked adding that this problem could be solved, or at least minimised, to a certain extent, if exemplary cost was imposed on the litigants for instituting frivolous litigations.
Justice Prasad said the time spent by the police in investigating false cases hindered them from spending time in investigation of serious offences. “It leads to faulty investigations and the accused end up going scot-free. Valuable judicial time is also spent in hearing cases where false allegations are made and is consequently an abuse of the process of law,” he added.
Noting that people who made such false allegations of rape could not be permitted to go scot-free, the High Court said, “this court is pained to note that there is an alarming increase of false cases of rape and offences under Section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A, 354B, 354C & 354D only to arm-twist the accused and make them succumb to the demands of the complainant”.
Justice Prasad, however, clarified that he was “not commenting as to whether the present case is a false case or not. However, if it is found that the cases which have been filed by the parties against each other are false and frivolous then action should be taken against the prosecutrix and others who were instrumental in levelling allegations of rape only to settle some personal scores”.
“There is an urgent need to deter such frivolous litigations,” the judge said.