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Friday, September 19, 2014
 
 

DOUBLE ISSUE

Mathura rape case

 

Issue Dated: October 12, 2008
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Mathura rape case The Mathura rape case was in a way one of the most outrageous cases in the history of Indian judiciary. Mathura, a 16-year-old tribal girl, was raped by two policemen in the compound of Desai Ganj police station in Maharashtra on March 26, 1972. After violent protests, anFIR was lodged against the two guilty constables – Ganpat and Tukaram. The sessions court gave the judgment in the favour of accused and stated that since the victim was “habituated to sexual intercourse,” her consent was given. The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court reversed the judgment and stated that “passive submission due to fear induced by serious threats could not be construed as willing sexual intercourse.” But, unfortunately, the Supreme Court again acquitted the policemen. The judgment said that Mathura had not raised an alarm and there were no visible marks of injury on her body. The judgment did not distinguish between consent and forcible submission. The case led to huge public outcry and was instrumental in bringing about wide-ranging changes in rape laws in the country. However, even under the changed legal regime, hardly any substantive improvements seem to have taken place in the ground conditions. Although punishments have become more stringent, the rate of conviction has dropped significantly in the post-reform years. (1972)

Kamini Jaiswal, a leading Supreme Court attorney
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Issue Dated: Apr 27, 2014