Police reluctant to file FIRs when women in live-in complain of rape
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) rankings for 2021 show Bengaluru has the fifth highest number of rape cases registered. But local police station reports belie these data.
According to the NCRB report, the number of rape cases registered in Bengaluru in 2021 was 117.
Nagesh H.M., Sub-inspector of the Kumaraswamy Layout Police Station, informed The Observer: “Most of the time, women who file complaints are ready to compromise by either getting married to the accused or getting compensation from the accused. Once, a girl was prepared to compromise by marrying the accused. But the accused refused and was imprisoned for four months based on the CrPC statement of the girl in front of the magistrate.”
Prasheela B.S., Sub-inspector of the Banashankari Women’s Police Station, said: “Most rape complaints… are by the women who are in live-in relationships with the accused. These kinds of cases are usually false as these complainants are often willing to marry the accused as a compromise.”
She added: “ So far, only three rape cases have been filed under Section 90 and Section 375. In all of these three cases, the victims were a live-in relationship with the accused and claimed participation in sexual intercourse, which was initiated on the false promise of marriage.”
Seshadripuram Sub-inspector Gautam T. Rathod said: “Most rape complaints are by women who enter into live-in relationships by consent.” He narrated a particular incident where a 15-year-old girl filed a rape case against her 19-year-old boyfriend for not marrying her. The case was filed under the Pocso Act, which makes sexual intercourse between a minor girl with a minor or adult male a criminal offence. “Despite being a minor, she was not a victim and bullied her boyfriend.”
Out of the 13 cases that had come before Gautam, only five cases were registered as FIRs after questioning the complainants.
M. Mohan Muralu, Assistant sub-inspector of the Siddapura Police Station, gave a different picture. “In most rape cases, the women are genuinely tricked into having sexual intercourse on the false promise of marriage by the man, or it involves sexual intercourse with a consenting minor girl,” he said. “In such cases, only after the medical inspection of the complainant or the victim an FIR is registered.”
Muralu also said only three rape cases were registered as FIRs in 2021.
Advocate Prathik Kumar said: “The Investigating officer or Station House Officer must register any rape complaint as an FIR and start an immediate investigation under IPC’s Section 376, which defines rape as a cognisable offence and non-bailable in nature.” In case the woman had sex with the accused under the false promise of marriage, a case of the cheating is also filed.
According to advocate Kumar, only after a rape complaint is registered as an FIR that a police officer can start the investigation. “Evidence is not something which is the primary material while registering a complaint. It is something that the investigating officer should secure during his investigation….”
Section 166 of the IPC says that failure to register a rape case as an FIR by the police is punishable with imprisonment for one year or with a fine, or both. Yet local police stations seem reluctant to register most rape complaints as FIRs.