NEW DELHI: A spurt in false cases has earned Delhi notoriety as the country's 'rape capital', a court here observed while acquitting a 75-year-old man of the charge of sexually assaulting his maid. The court said things have come to such a pass after the Nirbhaya gang rape in December that the mere statement of a woman about rape is taken as gospel truth, the accused arrested and chargesheeted.
"This led 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 labeling of Delhi as a rape capital," additional sessions judge Virender Bhat said while acquitting Bhopal Sharma.
The court observed that as acquittals in such cases are hardly ever reported, the falsely implicated persons lose their honour, dignity and status in society, and while 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 the false allegation of rape".
The prosecution claimed Sharma and his neighbour Anita became friends when they met in a hospital where his ailing wife was admitted. After Sharma's wife died, Anita arranged a maid for him. The woman, who is in her 30s, alleged that a few days after she started working for Sharma in July 2012, he raped her and then bought her silence with the promise of marriage. They remained in a sexual relationship, she claimed, till the time Sharma reneged on his promise. She lodged a police complaint on October 11, 2012.
However, during the trial, the woman turned hostile and said she had leveled false allegations at the behest of Anita and another person, Kuldeep, to usurp Sharma's property. Expressing the need for courts to be empowered to award compensation to false rape case victims, the judge also lamented that the media turn a blind eye to acquittals in such cases.
"Nobody bothers to see in how many cases the accused are convicted. The acquittal of an accused is not noticed at all and he continues to be labeled a 'rapist' even after his honorable acquittal."
The judge also said that right from the day the accused was first produced before him, he had wondered, "How such a frail old man, who cannot even stand straight, would rape a young lady in her mid-30s, jhaving lot more strength than the accused".