​Majlis Legal opposes PIL seeking guidelines for registering rape

Files an intervenor application opposing the PIL claiming it would be in violation of SC directions

By TCN News,

Support TwoCircles

Pune: Majlis Legal Centre, a forum for women’s rights discourse and legal initiatives, has filed an intervenor application in a PIL filed by a city-based NGO, Association of Aiding Justice, requesting the Bombay High Court to frame guidelines for registering rape cases as most rape cases are false.

Advocate Fla wasvia Agnes, director of Majlis Legal Centre, appeared before the Division Bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice S B Shukre and argued that framing guidelines would be in violation of the directions issued by the Constitutional Bench ruling of the Supreme Court in Lalita Kumari (2014), which has mandated the police to lodge an FIR in all cases where a cognizable offence is disclosed.

The PIL seeking guidelines for registering rape cases as 75% result in acquittal can be read here . Apart from this, the PIL claims pertaining to ‘promise of marriage’ should not be considered as rape cases.

Relying upon a study conducted by RAHAT, the survivor support programme of Majlis, of the FIRs filed during the period March 1, 2015 to March 31, 2015 in Mumbai, she stated that around 24% of rape cases are filed in this category (promise of marriage). Further, of this 24% cases, almost 50% of these involved minors, and in 50% of cases the girls were pregnant. “The refusal of the police to lodge the complaint would cause grave harm and injustice to these women who had been sexually exploited over a prolonged period,” she said and also argued that the PIL is based on hearsay evidence of random newspaper reports, the veracity of which cannot be substantiated and hence the PIL should be dismissed with costs.

“We were surprised to find that among the various news reports which the PIL relied upon was a quote by Kavita Krishnan, the well-known feminist, who is reported to have stated that ‘promise of marriage’ cases should not be brought within the scope of section 375 (4) of IPC (sexual intercourse by a man impersonating as the husband of the woman) and instead they should be placed under a separate civil law. Our application clarified that this view is erroneous,” a release from Majlis said.

These cases are brought within the purview of section 376, IPC not on the ground of ‘impersonation as a husband’ but because the consent given to sexual intercourse is a ‘tainted consent’ under section 90 of the IPC. Since it is given under a false promise of marriage, it is not a free consent. The application relied upon several Supreme Court rulings in support of this contention.

The application is admitted and will be heard on July 30, 2015, along with the PIL, the release said.