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India
07 May 2017

No compensation for rape accused wrongly jailed for 7 years

The Indian epidemic of false sexual harassment cases

Bombay HC has refused a plea by rape accused Gopal Shetye, who was jailed in 2009 and acquitted 7 years later. He had sought Rs. 200cr as compensation.

He was arrested after a woman alleged someone named 'Gopi' had raped her; Shetye was popularly known as Gopi.

While he was jailed, his father died and his wife remarried.

Are the rape-laws in India skewed?

In context

The Indian epidemic of false sexual harassment cases

Male victims?

Gender-biased rape laws in India

Sexual harassment laws in India are highly gender-biased, with only women being legally allowed to file rape cases.

Among other questionable laws, consensual sex with someone under 16, and 'breach of promise to marry', irrespective of reasons, can be construed as rape.

However, marital rape isn't a crime, unless she is under 15. Ironically, the legal age for marriage for girls is 18.

Questionable laws

Can 'breach of promise to marry' be rape?

While hearing a 2013 rape case, the Supreme Court distinguished between breach of promise, and breach of promise that wasn't sincere in the first place.

The Bombay HC in January also observed an educated girl having consensual sex can't allege rape after a breakup.

However, proving something as vague as a man's "clandestine motives" at the time of committing the alleged crime is difficult.

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Where are laws to protect men?

Section 375 denies the existence of a "male rape victim", thus subjecting many to social stigma and legal helplessness. Though the Centre, in the 2013 Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, made the crime of "sexual assault" gender-neutral, non-usage of the word "rape" severely limits available help.

Stigma to suicides: What falsely accused men go through

The aftermath

Stigma to suicides: What falsely accused men go through

When 44-year-old Yogesh Gupta of Delhi was charged with rape after he caught an employee embezzling money, he had a difficult time making people, and the police, listen to his account of what happened. Till the woman confessed she lied, Gupta and his family had to endure traumatizing ordeal.

Many times, men falsely accused of rape commit suicide due to overwhelming pain.

Nirbhaya gangrape

The impact of the Nirbhaya gangrape

Though the 2012 Delhi gangrape led to increased awareness about sexual harassment, it also impacted the society in the opposite way. In 2013, the capital saw over 100% hike in reported sexual violence cases.

Media and the government responded with increased reporting and amended laws.

However, the Delhi Commission for Women claimed that 53% of 2013's registered rape cases in the capital were "false".

Flaws in DCW's 'false rapes' study

The DCW's 2013 study claiming 53% of all rape cases as false failed to analyze reasons of cases being dropped: over 35%, the majority, were found to be cases of consensual sex criminalized by objecting parents, while almost 25% were breaches of promise to marry.

India's daughters, fighting for men

MRA

India's daughters, fighting for men

Prominent female men's rights activists include Deepika Bhardwaj, Indu Subhash and Barkha Trehan, most of whom claim men are the 'real victims'.

The movement started when the anti-dowry Section 498A was introduced in 1983, under which the husband and his family can be arrested without investigation.

Save Indian Family, India's prime men's rights group, reportedly has more than 1,00,000 activists on the ground.

The future

Is the MRA headed the right way?

The men's rights movement often ignores many significant issues affecting men, like violence from male peers, and instead focus on blaming women.

Sexual abuse of men and male children, a grave reality in India which can be fought only with Section 377 (anti-sodomy law), is rarely mentioned.

The movement also keeps away gay and trans men, advocating the image of a 'heterosexual, cisgender' man.

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