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Thursday, February 22, 2024
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#MenToo: Punish girls who mock the law to shame innocents

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The story of Karan Oberoi starts from a dating app and lands him in the #MenToo movement. In the entire saga, the sufferer was only a man who was attacked with selective motives. The Bombay High Court granted a Rs 50,000 bail to Karan month after he was arrested on the charges of raping and blackmailing a woman.

Well, in an FIR lodged on May 4, the 34-year-old fake victim had alleged that Karan Oberoi had raped her in 2017 on the pretext of marriage, filmed the act, and then extorted money from her under the threat of making the video go viral. On May 6, Karan was arrested and sent to the police custody. Later, he was remanded to the judicial custody as his bail plea was pending with the session’s court.

The FIR was false because Karan never promised to marry the woman (who is a Tantrik by profession) whom he met on the dating app; however, she lodged another FIR by staging an attack to ensure his bail gets denied. The attack was planned by her lawyer. However, the police turned the complaint on its head as it is found that the woman has orchestrated the attack herself but had tried to show that she was attacked because of the case.

Meanwhile, Karan Oberoi’s close friends like Pooja Bedi, Sachin Shroff, Danny Fernandes, Anveshi Jain, Chaitanya Bhosle, Varkey Patani, Sherrin Varghese, and Sudhanshu Pandey had spoken up in support of him on the social media. They started a movement called #MenToo and they did a great job being vocal to the media and retaliating the charges against Karan.

Pooja Bedi tirelessly campaigned against the injustice and she got support from various counterparts. The judge too added that the perusal of the messages exchanged between the complainant and the accused shows that the woman had voluntarily purchased gifts for karan and that there was no demand from his side. Justice Dere also reprimanded the police for not conducting the probe properly. The court further observed that the complainant wanted to get married to Karan but he had refused her and was avoiding her since then.

A month after actor Karan Oberoi was sent to the jail for alleged rape and extortion, the Bombay High Court, while hearing his bail plea, pointedly and repeatedly asked the police whether they had seized the 34-year-old rape accuser’s phones.

Well, police actually failed to act swiftly. There is no compensation to the time that Karan has spent in jail and the trauma that his family has gone through. One month is not a short period; however, Karan has people’s support. Think about those who are not celebrities and not even financially strong. Why should they languish in jail for no fault at all?

Karan got bail but there are many questions which are yet to be answered by the judiciary and police. On what basis was the FIR Lodged under such heinous crimes — Rape, Drugging, Filming, Extortion — or was it just based on her saying? What all evidence was produced? Why were the Date and Place not mentioned in her FIR?

Ok, let’s assume that police had to take her case and file an FIR. On what basis did they arrest Karan? Especially when he had SHOWN them the messages of her chasing him and also provided them with the fact he had filed a harassment case against her in October 2018! Why were her (so-called accused) cell phones not seized for investigation even when the judge herself raised this concern?

When the staged attack took place and the attackers named her lawyer as the one who paid them, why didn’t the police call her for questioning? When her lawyer said that it was HER master plan, why didn’t the police still call her for questioning? Why didn’t they arrest the accused after her attempt to tamper with the case? Why didn’t the police, even at this point, seize her phones?

When the high court admonished the Investigating Officer in the court for NOT Seizing her phone and Questioning her and asked WHY THE WOMAN WASN’T ARRESTED, what steps were supposed to be taken by the Investigating Officer? Why did it take the Police three days to seize her phone even after the observations of the high court (giving her over one month to destroy valuable data)?

Why have the police STILL NOT ARRESTED HER? Why and on what grounds she should be spared when it is proven that the case is false. Moreover, all these while, the lady, who falsely accused Karan, has remained anonymous. Her name has not got published anywhere; in spite of all the conspiracy hatched by her, she could manage to maintain her reputation by all means. Why shouldn’t she be named and shamed? Why shouldn’t she be punished for filing a false rape case and wasting the time of the judiciary and tarnishing the life of an innocent?

Something strange is going on in India. Women are becoming more educated and confident. Pre-marital sex is on the rise – there are many hotels that offer rooms for an hour or two to the couples seeking somewhere to have sex. However, at the same time, so are the numbers of women alleging rape on the false promise of marriage. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, a total of 38,947 rape cases were reported in India in 2016. In 10,068 cases – about a quarter – women claimed that it was rape on the false promise of marriage.

In Andhra Pradesh state, 45 per cent of all rape cases filed in the past two years fell into the false marriage category. When a relationship ends, women, who have had consensual sex, make false accusations of rape under the promise of marriage out of vengefulness, just to hurt the men or to extort money and promising to withdraw the charge if he gives them what they want.

The only solace for men like Karan, who have been falsely accused, is that many of these cases are thrown out of the court. However, this is not enough unless the so-called victim, when gets exposed, should get punished. Only then we can expect some deterrence in those women.

While there is a façade of the growing number of false rape cases in the media, it is actually an amalgamation of a lot of factors that lead to, in many cases, even real rape cases enter into the fake rape case category. Moreover, it is not to deny that there could be a small percentage where women have lied and extorted money out of men in cases of rape, but there is no clear statistic available on that.

While there are several voices in this narrative of false rape cases that speak about the intensity of it, there is also a major patriarchal agenda as the basis of these false rape cases. Many times, the legal system gets into the convoluted discourse of what is rape! Is it sex by force or sex without mutual consent? We are still trying to figure out what unequivocal consent means.

After the 2013 amendment in the rape laws, a woman now has the authority to decline to go through a medical test in rape cases. There are also several cases where the women file complaints after years of the actual rape happening and since the number kept increasing, it was only recently that the Supreme Court and High Court stopped giving the order in such cases. Going further, the court should take a bold step by arresting these fake girls who are making fun of the law and playing with the lives of innocent men. Even the society needs to be sensitive towards men.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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