While rape causes the greatest distress and humiliation to a victim, a false allegation can cause equal distress, humiliation and damage to the accused and he must be protected against such implication, the Supreme Court has said.
A bench of justices BR Gavai and JB Pardiwala said when an accused approaches court for quashing an FIR on the ground that such proceedings are manifestly frivolous or vexatious, then in such circumstances the court owes a duty to look into the FIR with care and a little more closely.
“It cannot be lost sight of that rape causes the greatest distress and humiliation to the victim but at the same time a false allegation of rape can cause equal distress, humiliation and damage to the accused as well. The accused must also be protected against the possibility of false implication, particularly where a large number of accused are involved,” the bench said.
The top court said once the complainant in a rape case decides to proceed against the accused with an ulterior motive for wreaking personal vengeance, etc., then he would ensure that the FIR/complaint is very well drafted with all the necessary pleadings.
“The complainant would ensure that the averments made in the FIR/complaint are such that they disclose the necessary ingredients to constitute the alleged offence,” the bench said.
“Therefore, it will not be just enough for the Court to look into the averments made in the FIR/complaint alone for the purpose of ascertaining whether the necessary ingredients to constitute the alleged offence are disclosed or not,” the bench said.
The supreme court said in frivolous or vexatious proceedings, the Court owes a duty to look into many other attending circumstances emerging from the record of the case over and above the averments and, if need be, with due care and circumspection try to read in between the lines.
“The Court while exercising its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the CrPC or Article 226 of the Constitution need not restrict itself only to the stage of a case but is empowered to take into account the overall circumstances leading to the initiation/registration of the case as well as the materials collected in the course of investigation,” the bench said.
The observation came while setting aside an order of the Allahabad high court quashing a rape and criminal intimidation case against an accused registered at Police Station Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district.
The supreme court said that in the entire FIR there is not a whisper of any allegation of rape or criminal intimidation against the accused and he has been targeted. “The appellant has been shown as a history sheeter. If the FIR does not disclose anything against the appellant and even at the end of the investigation, if nothing incriminating has surfaced against the appellant herein, then the continuation of the criminal proceedings against the appellant herein would be nothing but gross abuse of the process of law,” the bench said.