10 of 67 rape cases in Gurgaon cancelled as victims turned hostile
Gurgaon police say situation unfortunate as the probe goes futile, activists say women retract often under pressuregurgaon Updated: Jul 30, 2017 23:55 IST
Figures released by the Gurgaon police have indicated that a number of rape cases filed are cancelled after investigation as the complainant either retracts her statement or withdraws the case.
City police records show that as many as 24 of the total 75 rape cases filed in Gurgaon last year were cancelled. The figure works out to 32% of the total complaints filed.
This year too, official figures show that of the 67 rape cases filed till June 2017, 10 (13.33%) have already been cancelled by the police. Of these 67 cases, 55 are still under investigation. A case is cancelled only after the police submits a report in a court.
Terming cancellation of cases as unfortunate, Sandeep Khirwar, Gurgaon police commissioner, said, “About 30- 35% of the total rape cases filed in 2016 were cancelled. What is important to note here is that in most such cases, the complainant herself retracts her statement or withdraws the complaint.”
A senior official said in 90% of the cases that are cancelled, a settlement or compromise is reached between the complainant and the accused.
“The cancellation report submitted by the investigation officer goes to the SHO, who then forwards it to the ACP. Finally, the DCP looks into it. Then, the cancellation report is sent to the court and it is only then that the case is cancelled,” Manish Sehgal, spokesperson for the Gurgaon police, said.
Under Section 114(A) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the police have to believe the complainant’s statement on whether the sexual act was consensual or forced. A city police officer, who asked not to be named, said that if a complainant alleges that the act wasn’t consensual and even if the evidence suggests otherwise, the police have to go by her statement.
The police commissioner said cancellation of cases takes place mostly due to a change in the complainant’s statement.
Rekha Sharma, member of the National Commission for Women (NCW), conceded that “many cases of rape and harassment turn out to be false”, but held out a rider.
“Investigation plays a crucial role. In most cases, they (the police) begin the probe with a preconceived notion that it is a false case and then go about proving the same,” Sharma said.
She said that though it is not uncommon for victims to retract their statements, “one can’t blame them, as they often succumb to societal or family pressure.”
“The victim is often under pressure to take back her complaint. In fact, in most cases where the complainants are from a humble background, the money offered is often the key to settling a case or withdrawing the complaint. The parents often tell the complainant, ‘mil rahe hain paise, baat khatam karo’ (Since you’re getting the money, settle the issue),” the NCW member said.