A recent judgment by Supreme Court to prosecute police for filing false rape case is probably a first, going by the trouble the innocent man was put through both at trial court and high court level in not allowing his application to prosecute the woman sub-inspector. Would the trial/high court of Tamil Nadu have allowed the prosecution if the sub-inspector was a man rather than woman? We don’t know. But SC has taken the right stand. First a bare reading of Section 195 of IPC below
Update 05-05-2017: Full judgment at http://bharatlaw.in/doc/AVh96B2-dGcup1PUfxaI
Section 195 of IPC
Giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to procure conviction of offence punishable with imprisonment for life or imprisonment.—Whoever gives or fabricates false evidence intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause, any person to be convicted of an offence which 1[by the law for the time being in force in 2[India]] is not capital, but punishable with 3[imprisonment for life], or imprisonment for a term of seven years or upwards, shall be punished as a person convicted of that offence would be liable to be punished. Illustration A gives false evidence before a Court of Justice, intending thereby to cause Z to be convicted of a dacoity. The punishment of dacoity is 3[imprisonment for life], or rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, with or without fine. A, therefore, is liable to 3[imprisonment for life] or imprisonment, with or without fine.
So it seems a false rape (though not IPC 498a because maximum punishment is 3 years) is a fit case for initiating prosecution against policewoman under sec 195 who knowingly allow a false case to proceed, e.g., by filing a chargesheet in this case even though the allegation of ‘raped’ woman being pregnant was found to be false medically.
NEW DELHI: Days after ordering that liability be fastened on investigating officers and prosecutors for their deliberate lapses leading to acquittal in serious offences, the Supreme Court has ruled that a policeman would be liable for prosecution if he files a chargesheet against a person despite knowing his innocence.
The court was hearing a case related to an all-women police station in Pollachi, Tamil Nadu. On May 28, 2008, one Nagal lodged a complaint against a man accusing him of having sexual relationship with her on the promise of marriage and claimed that she had become pregnant. She also complained that when she sought marriage citing her pregnancy, the man threatened to kill her.
The complainant was subjected to medical examination and the doctors said she was not pregnant. Despite this evidence, the man was chargesheeted by a woman sub-inspector, who was entrusted investigation of the case. Pollachi judicial magistrate acquitted the accused. The state did not appeal against the verdict.
The acquitted man moved the trial court for prosecution of the woman sub-inspector. But the court dismissed it saying the complaint was not maintainable. The Madras High Court too rejected his appeal. He sought relief from the Supreme Court.
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Chelameswar disagreed with the HC’s decision not to entertain the man’s plea for prosecution of the policewoman for deliberately initiating prosecution against him despite being aware of his innocence.
He said, “In the case on hand, when the appellant alleges that he had been prosecuted on the basis of a palpably false statement coupled with the further allegation in his complaint that the woman SI did so for extraneous considerations, we are of the opinion that it is an appropriate case where the high court ought to have exercised jurisdiction under Section 195 of Criminal Procedure Code.
“The allegation such as the one made by the complainant against the policewoman is not uncommon. As was pointed earlier by this court in a different context, ‘there is no rule of law that common sense should be put in cold storage’. Our Constitution is designed on the theory of checks and balances. A theory which is the product of the belief that all power corrupts – such belief is based on experience.”
The bench allowed the man’s appeal and asked the HC to look at the matter afresh.
Kudos to the man who instead of paying heed to usual unthinking advice of society to forget, move on (move on and go where exactly? to Mars?) took his fight all the way to Supreme Court and set a credible precedent which will put some fear into the hearts of police people who are lazy and corrupt.
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