New Delhi: False cases are the reasons behind labelling of Delhi as 'rape capital', a court in the national capital has held while acquitting a 75-year-old man of the charge of sexually assaulting his maid after the woman turned hostile. The court said after the December 16 gangrape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus, it lead to the creation of an atmosphere that "the mere statement of a lady that she has been raped, came to be taken as gospel truth, the accused arrested and chargesheeted".
"This lead to an unprecedented surge in filing of false rape cases...It is these false cases which play havoc with the crime statistics, leading to the labelling of Delhi as a 'rape capital'," Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat said, while acquitting Bhopal Sharma of the charge of sexually assaulting his maid.
The court observed that as acquittals in such cases are hardly ever reported, the falsely implicated persons lose their honour, dignity and status in the society and though these cannot be restored, "these victims" can be compensated so that they can start life afresh. It also noted that "it is a matter of intense regret that even the frail, sick and aged persons are not spared from the false allegations of rape".
According to the prosecution, Sharma and his neighbour Anita had become friends when they met in a hospital where his ailing wife was admitted. After his wife's death, Anita had arranged for the woman, who was in her 30s, to work as a maid in his home. The maid in her complaint had said a few days after she started working at Sharma's house in July 2012, he had raped her and after the incident, had promised to marry her. Thereafter, he continued to have sexual relations with her on the pretext of marrying her, the maid had alleged, adding that she lodged the police complaint on October 11, 2012 after Sharma expressed his unwillingness to keep his promise.
However, during the trial, the woman turned hostile and said she had levelled false allegations on the advice of Anita and another person Kuldeep.
While acquitting Sharma, the judge noted that the maid, a divorcee, had levelled the allegation of rape against the senior citizen on the behest of her neighbour Anita and Kuldeep in order to usurp the man's property.
Expressing the need for courts to be empowered to award compensation to victims of false rape cases, the judge also lamented that media turns a blind eye to acquittals in such cases. "Nobody bothers to see in how many cases the accused in fact are convicted. Media turns a blind eye towards acquittals. The acquittal of an accused is not noticed at all and he continues to be labelled as a 'rapist' even after his honourable acquittal.
"Their lost honour, dignity and status in the society cannot be restored but they can be compensated so that they are able to start life afresh. The courts need to be empowered to award compensation to men acquitted in false rape cases," the court said.
The judge also said right from the first day when accused was produced before him, he had wondered, "How such a frail old man, who can not even stand straight, would rape a young lady in her mid-30's, having lot more strength than the accused?"