Official data on police investigation in rape and gangrape cases lodged in nine districts of Meerut zone so far, this year, shows that a whopping 25% of these cases are false. According to data accessed from the additional director general’s (ADG) (Meerut zone) office, 477 cases were lodged under IPC sections 376 (rape) and 376 D (gang rape) in Meerut zone alone and investigation was complete in 371 cases. Of these, 90 turned out to be false, while chargesheets were filed only in 281 cases, reported Times of India.
Officials claimed that stringent rape laws were being misused to take revenge and also force settlement in existing cases. “We are bound by duty to register an FIR any time a woman (or a complainant) comes forward with written complaint alleging rape. We have to arrest the suspect based on the survivors’ statements,” said a senior police official, on the condition of anonymity.
Officers cited several cases in which women, at the behest of family members, have alleged rape to frame a rival. Police have now begun taking counter-action against such complainants. A 26-year-old woman, Laxmi, and two of her aides were arrested in Muzaffarnagar in May this year after police tore into her conspiracy to frame a Haridwar resident in the sensational highway rape case.
“In several false rape cases, the accused is a complainant in an earlier case. The motive, in many incidents, is to force the suspect into reaching a settlement in the old case as a quid pro quo for withdrawing the rape case against him,” an inspector in Meerut said.
At the receiving end of such fake rape cases are suspects who are acquitted only after initial police investigation or when the case falls flat during trial in a court. “The accused men are jailed even before evidence in the case is weighed upon. By the time, they are exonerated of the offence they would already have suffered a lot. The stress, social boycott and humiliation - we rip the man off his basic human rights for no fault of his,” Deepika Bhardwaj, a men’s rights activist based in Gurgaon said.
Meanwhile, senior police officers claimed that they have to toe the line as government has instructed zero tolerance policy in crime against women. “Many innocent people are sent to jail every day and they get relief only after investigation is over. But given the government’s policy, it is not possible to suspect a woman’s intentions when she approaches police,” said Meerut ADG Prashant Kumar.