False Rape Accusations: Why Must We Pretend They Never Happen?

by August 24, 2018 0 comments

False Rape Accusations

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem. They

need real punishment for ruining lives of innocent people and undermining justice for genuine victims.

One of the tragedies of the slow pace of the Indian criminal justice system is that there is a disturbing reality of far too many innocents getting punished for crimes they did not commit; in the sense that by the time they have been acquitted by the courts, they have served long stretches of jail time. Such is the fate of two men from the National Capital Region. Accused of raping their niece in 2001, there was no evidence to prove the allegations and they were acquitted of all charges by a fast-track court. Subsequently, they were convicted in a retrial ordered by the High Court, which upheld their conviction. Finally, the Supreme Court stepped in this week, holding that the charges were demonstrably false and ordered their release after they had spent 10 and seven years respectively in jail on cooked up charges of rape. The accuser made a false allegation and she should be punished for that. While some false rape allegations after their disposal have been prosecuted, the slow pace of the justice system ensures that by the time any verdict is reached, it might be three decades since the first allegations were made.

What should happen is an instant civil fine should be imposed on the false accuser; the fine may not bring back the years spent in jail but would at least be a part-palliative. Similarly, police as the prosecuting agency, must be ordered to compensate the falsely accused. A criminal case against the false accuser should then follow. At the same time, as rapes are — rightly  — being tried in fast-track courts, an equally fast justice-delivery mechanism should be put in place to hear the appeals of the accused, provided the allegations against them are both false and malicious. Malicious, false allegations don’t just ruin lives of the accused but undermine justice for the millions of genuine rape and sexual offences survivors, an overwhelming majority of them women, as they have the result of leading people to not take such allegations with the gravity and seriousness they deserve. At the end of the day, such false cases, even if they are a small number of the total proportion, are like a few rotten apples in a crate; they will unfortunately damage the other apples too.

Writer: Pioneer

Courtesy: The Pioneer

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