Right when India is debating law that will allow wives to book their husbands for Rape, removing the exception in existing rape laws that grant immunity to husband to be prosecuted for rape, a man has been granted bail in Delhi, as his brothers wife filed rape case on him, seven years after leaving the matrimonial home and after fifteen years of litigation.
Prakhyat (name changed) was arrested on 17.01.2022 after his brother’s wife filed a case against him alleging rape and accused her husband and his entire family of cruelty, dowry demand. Prakhyat is father of three daughters and is the sole bread earner of his family and has been staying separately with his wife since years.
The woman who filed the rape case was married to this Prakhyat’s brother on 14.12.2006 which was a love cum arrange marriage in her own admission.
She first filed a police complaint against the husband and his family on 13.10.2007 where she accused her husband and his family of domestic violence. There was not a whisper of rape or sexual assault in that complaint, stated the petition filed by accused in the court.
Further, on 09.05.2008, she filed petition under the Domestic Violence Act again making husband and his entire family including this brother a party, seeking various reliefs under law. Even in this petition she did not utter any allegations of Rape.
The dispute was resolved between the families post which she withdrew her complaints only to file a police case again on 20.07.2015 alleging cruelty and demand of dowry. Even in this case, there were no allegations of rape. During the same time, she filed a case of domestic violence again and the court ordered the husband to pay maintenance of Rs 15,000 for her and the children. Since then, the husband has been paying the maintenance to the woman, who left the husband company in 2015.
Rape Charges Against Husband’s Brother
As per the petition filed by Prakhyat, talks to settle the matter between his brother and his wife were going on since years but when they expressed inability to pay the exponential amount of money demanded by her as alimony, she implicated him in this false rape case on 11.01.2022. He was immediately arrested without any investigation by Delhi Police.
In the FIR filed by the woman, as accessed by Men’s Day Out, the woman claimed…
My brother-in-law raped me several times. He would ask me to keep quiet about it. He used to rape me when my husband went out. I complained to my grand father-in-law and grand mother-in-law but they did not help me. I was told if I complain my children will be killed.
I kept quiet until now thinking what will the society say but now, I have gathered courage so I am complaining.
There is no other statement in the entire FIR regarding the allegation of rape. The complainant doesn’t mention any specific date or time or place nor does she state if she alerted her own family members about it. Curiously, the woman claims that she kept quiet regarding the rape because Prakhyat threatened her of killing her children but in her own admission the children were born much after the said incidents of rape.
Prosecution opposed Prakhyat’s plea for bail contending that bail should not be granted in such a heinous crime though it did not present any cogent evidence proving his culpability.
Rohini Court, Delhi
The Judge while granting bail to Prakhat observed,
The complainant has not denied that the above-mentioned complaints as detailed by the applicant in his bail application were not made by her. From the material placed on record, it is clear that matrimonial dispute family of the applicant and the complainant is going on from the last 15 years.
The complainant has made several complaints against the family members of the applicant from 2006 till 2022 and prior to filing the present complaint dated 11.01.2022 wherein the allegations of rape have been levelled, no allegations of rape were levelled against the present applicant/accused in any of the complaint.
The complainant has not mentioned in her complaint the date, time and place where alleged rape has been committed. The complainant has failed to satisfy the court as to why she has made the present complaint after a lapse of so many years.
While granting bail to Prakhyat, the Judge pondered over several cases where brother or father of husband were implicated in rape cases by wife in a similar manner as in this case. The Judgments referred to are bail applications in the case of Rupesh Alias Aniruddha vs State of NCT of Delhi (2021) , Ibrahim Khan vs State of Madhya Pradesh (2020) and Andher Singh vs State of Madhya Pradesh (2016).
Advocate Prashant Manchanda who represented the accused in this case while talking exclusively to Men’s Day Out said,
The present case is a sad commentary on as to how the matrimonial laws have been unwarrantedly abused and misused by certain overzealous wives in cahoots with police personnel with a view to satisfy illicit demands from innocent husbands and in- laws thus, virtually disregarding the latter and their entire family’s inherent right to live with dignity. They are disgracefully wasting the time and expenses of the state by attempting to reduce the entire legal apparatus to a mere weapon for inflicting their personal vendetta for executing their wicked designs.
This is against the backdrop that matrimonial laws were introduced with affirmed object to combat the threat of harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband and his relatives. To therefore, use aforesaid provisions as a weapon and tools for harassment largely put to abuse the very idea and ethos behind the engraftment of these purposive provisions, eventually causing even graver injustice to the misery of the real victims who are unfortunately subjected to such crimes. Unfortunately, if the plenitude and essence of these provisions are not given its full play by the State, such individuals will be substantially responsible for its abuse.
India is on the brink of bringing law for Marital Rape. Post 2014, in thousands of cases, brothers, fathers, brothers-in-law of a husband have been roped in false rape cases by wives to get them arrested. This is because after Supreme Courts guidelines against immediate arrest in 2014 in Arnesh Kumar case, women are facing a challenge in getting their husband and his family thrown behind bars immediately merely on basis of her statement. This protection by Supreme Court granted to husbands has acted as a hinderance in extracting maximum money out of a man and his family by wives and thus they have designed a new way of harassment by invoking rape and unnatural sex charges.
In the case above this man who is a father of three daughters and is the sole bread winner of his family was thrown behind bars by police even though there was no medical evidence, no date, no time, no place mentioned about the said incident. Mere words of this woman were taken as prima facie evidence and he was put behind bars.
What will stop women from doing the same with their husbands if Marital law comes? How will a husband prove his innocence seven years after the alleged incident while he will be arrested merely on basis of words? Delhi High Court has given just two weeks to the government to decide its stand on the matter while the government wants to do an exhaustive consultation process. It is absolutely unfair to decide fate of millions of men and women in this country on basis of two feminist organizations that want this law to come. Hope the government will listen to others too.
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