A Delhi court has said that a man who was acquitted of a rape under false promise of marriage case could sue his accuser for damages on account of humiliation and trauma he suffered due to her allegations.
The court said he could ask for these damages over and above suing for ligation expenses. The court’s observations came while acquitting a resident of Mukherjee Nagar in New Delhi of the charge of repeatedly raping and criminally intimidating a woman who was working in his organisation on the false promise of marriage.
The acquittal came after the woman had turned hostile and said that the relations between them had been consensual.
“It cannot be ignored that the accused, due to this case which has ultimately ended in his acquittal, may have suffered humiliation, trauma... besides the expenses of the litigation... He may also file any case for damages against the prosecutrix, if advised,” additional sessions judge Nivedita Anil Sharma said.
Former additional solicitor general Indira Jaising, however, pointed out that “a rape survivor turning hostile and thus getting an acquittal on that basis cannot automatically be presumed to be an honourable acquittal.”
She added that a prosecutrix can turn hostile for a variety of reasons. “Turning hostile can also be a sign of settlement between accuser and accused. Hence just because of an acquittal based on settlement cannot be a reason to give permission to sue.”
The woman lodged an FIR at Hari Nagar police station alleging that in February 2013, the man gave her a cold drink laced with sedatives and thereafter, raped her.
She alleged that the man continued to rape her at several places from February to August 2013, on the false promise to marry her and threatened to make her ‘obscene’ videos public.
The woman, however, turned hostile and changed her statement in the court deposing that the physical relations between her and the man were consensual.
“... I am of the considered view that the case of the prosecution cannot be treated as trustworthy and reliable as the prosecutrix has retracted and resiled,” the judge said.
The court said, “There was no material on record to show that the man had intoxicated the woman, raped, beaten her, prepared her obscene videos, threatened to publish her video and raped her under the false promise to marry.”