For Brij Mohan, the rape charge landed like a surprise whack on the head. His 28-yearold cousin accused Brij, a carpenter in Bharatpur, and her ex-husband Krishan Kumar of rape. She alleged they abducted her on September 15, 2013 and raped her.
The police probe picked holes in Lata’s story.
Police found Lata’s mobile was at her residence, far away from the rape spot, on the day the crime was allegedly committed. Investigation also found Kumar was at his village near Kumher and Mohan was at his home nursing his hand fractured in an accident. And they also found a revenge element — Kumar and Lata were divorced in December 2009 and the court had found her ineligible for alimony.
Mohan says his fault was that he arranged for Kumar’s marriage after divorce from Lata.
“I arranged for Kumar’s remarriage. That didn’t go down well with Lata and she implicated me and Kumar in a rape case. Life was not easy after the case,” Mohan told HT.
Though Mohan was exonerated, life was never steady again. The shadow of social stigma follows him, and the case left him in penury. Lata’s ex-husband left his village for Faridabad.
“I incurred a debt of more than 50,000 to meet legal expenses. I was also out of work for about three months after the case was filed. The case was found to be false but the complainant has not suffered a bit in this process,” Mohan, father of four, said in a local dialect of Rajasthan. The plight of Mohan and Kumar is emblematic of the growing misuse of anti-rape laws.
Records say about 45% of the rape cases filed in the state this year till November were investigated and found to be false. Of the 3,537 rape cases filed till November 2014, 1,233 cases were found to be false. 774 cases are pending investigation.
From an internal assessment of rape cases, Rajasthan police have found that the majority of rape cases are driven by revenge motive and property disputes.
“The number of false cases has increased with the number of rape cases,” said Additional Director General of Police, Umesh Mishra, who is holding additional charge of civil rights.
Between 2012 and 2014, there has been a spike in the First Infor mation Reports filed alleging rape. In 2012, 3,205 rape cases were filed and the number increased to 3,537 this year (till November-end).
Of the total cases filed under the broad category of atrocities against women this year, 48.22% of cases were found to be false.
Sidhu Nisha, the general secretary of National Federation of Indian Women, believes figures don’t always speak the whole truth.
“In some cases, there is pressure on women to withdraw cases and in some cases, medical tests are not strong enough to prove the crime. There is need to work on the medical procedures to prove rape. The method of filing Final Reports in such cases also needs to be examined,” she said. But there is a wide-spread perception police are soft on those who level false rape charge.
Hemant Nahta, a senior advocate at Rajasthan High Court, said, “Yes, the number of false rape cases is increasing day by day. There is provision under Section 193 of IPC and Sections 182 and 211 of the CrPC to initiate action against those lodging false cases but police usually go easy on this”.