Rising False Rape Cases in India

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Menace of false rape cases in India has been rising and this fact is evident from the
statistics released by the government.

Many of the cases are being reported by those women who have consensual physical
relationship with a man but when the relationship breaks due to one or the other reason,
the women use the law as a weapon for vengeance and personal vendetta to extort money and sometimes even to force the boy to get married to her. Out of anger and frustration, they tend to convert such consensual sex as an incident of rape, defeating the very purpose of the provision.

False Rape Cases Statistics:

In 2014, the Delhi Commission of Women put out a report stating that 53.2% of rape cases filed between April 2013 – July 2014 were false. Most of these cases fell under the “rape under the false promise of marriage” category.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau,  total of 38,947 rape cases were reported in India in 2016. In 10,068 cases – about a quarter – the women claimed it was rape on false promise of marriage. In Andhra Pradesh state, 45% of all rape cases filed in the past two years fell into the false promise of marriage category.

Whether Sexual Intercourse Based on Promise to Marry is Rape?

An accused can be convicted for rape only if the court reaches a conclusion that the
intention of the accused was mala fide, and that he had clandestine motives.

Recently the Supreme Court of India quashed rape charges against a man who was accused of his girlfriend of eight years of having sexual intercourse with her on a false
promise of marriage.

Supreme Court has also held that not every failed promise to marry can lead to a rape
charge. If the woman continues to have sex with the man despite remaining uncertain whether it would lead to marriage or not, she cannot charge the said man of rape. The court also added that the individual who makes a choice to act after evaluating the actions and their possible consequences, “consents” to such action.

Also Read: Sexual Harassment at Workplace

Consensual Sex Is Not Rape:

Supreme Court has also held that there is a clear distinction between rape and consensual sex. The court, in such cases, must very carefully examine whether the complainant had actually wanted to marry the victim or had mala fide motives and had made a false promise to this effect only to satisfy his lust, as the later falls within the ambit of cheating or deception.

There is also a distinction between the mere breach of a promise and not fulfilling a false
promise. If the Accused has not made the promise with the sole intention to seduce the
prosecutrix to indulge in sexual acts, such an act would not amount to rape.

There may be a case where the prosecutrix agrees to have sexual intercourse on account of her love and passion for the Accused and not solely on account of the misconception created by accused, or where an accused, on account of circumstances which he could not have foreseen or which were beyond his control, was unable to marry her despite having every intention to do. Such cases must be treated differently. If the complainant had any mala fide intention and if he had clandestine motives, it is a clear case of rape. The acknowledged consensual physical relationship between the parties would not constitute an offence Under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.

Conclusion:

The legal position which can be culled out from various judicial pronouncements is that the
consent given by the prosecutrix to have sexual intercourse with whom she is in love, on a promise that he would marry her on a later date, cannot be considered as rape. No one should be allowed to trivialize the gravity of offence by misusing the same as a weapon for vengeance or vendetta.

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