Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra 1978

    OVERVIEW:

    The infamous case of Tukaram vs the state of Maharashtra also known as the Mathura Rape Case activated and brought a radical change in the rape laws governing India. This case revolved around the problem of custodial rape of a young girl named Mathura. The judgment of this case was given by Justice Jaswant Singh, Kailasam, and Koshal who were highly condemned and criticized for their logical, legal, and linguistic fallacies along with ambiguous and sexist tone.

    Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra
    Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra

    FACTS OF THE CASE Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra:

    Mathura, a young orphaned girl was staying with her brother Gama and worked as a laborer at Nushi’s house. During her employment, she had developed sexual relations with Ashok, who was the son of Nushi’s sister, after which they got married. As per the reports filed by Gama on March 26, 1972, Mathura had been kidnapped and all the relatives along with Ashok, Nushi were brought to the police station.

    After the statements were recorded, everyone was leaving the police station at 10:30pm. The first appellant Ganpat asked Mathura to wait back at the police station and closed all the doors and took her up to the washroom and raped her even though she resisted. The second appellant, also tried raping her and fondled her private parts, but he failed as he was highly intoxicated. Once she was back with her family, she narrated the incident to them and was examined by a doctor thereafter. It was known after the examination that Mathura, a girl was aged between 14-16 years.

    SESSION COURT’S JUDGEMENT:

    The session’s court acquitted the accused saying that it was not a case of rape but “consensual sexual intercourse.” His logic was found to be perverse as he implied that as Mathura being “habitual to sex” must-have invited Ganpat to satisfy her sexual needs and thus there was voluntary consent by Mathura. The presence of semen on her clothes was used as a strong argument by the judge that she must be involved with some other person in a sexual act. The judge implied that Mathura was so eager that she had sexual intercourse with “someone” between the hours of this incident and her medical examination.

    However, the court in justifying the presence of semen on Ganpat’s clothes stood by the reason for it being ‘nightly discharge’. It is mystifying as to why the court was biased and had double standards based on gender roles. As per section 375(6) of the IPC, sexual intercourse with any girl below the age of 14 without her consent is known as rape. Even after Dr. Shastrakar provided evidence that Mathura was between the age of 14-16 years, the judge held the evidence as inadequate. He further held that to sound “virtuous before Ashok” Mathura fabricated a story of being raped.

    Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year.
    Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year.

    BOMBAY HIGH COURT:

    The Bombay High Court rightly distinguished between the submissive submission and consent. The court held that as the accused were strangers to Mathura and that her brother had filed the complaint in the same police station, the chances of her making any advancements on them were highly improbable. Also, the constables were in a position of authority and any resistance made by Mathura could be detrimental to Mathura and her brother Gama only.

    This case is clearly of passive submission caused by injury or threat to the victim. The fact that the constables confined her to the police station along with her act of instantly narrating the incident to her family shows a clear lack of consent. The Court correctly held that the absence of semen on the vaginal smears and pubic hair was because it is very much obvious that she must have had a shower as she was examined after 20 hours of the incident.

    Though the Court convicted the accused there were some parts of the judgment that were considered to be paradoxical. First, the Court did agree on the Sessional Court’s decision regarding Mathura’s age. If both the Courts were confident that Dr. Shastrakar’s examination was incorrect then why didn’t they go any further with the examination of her age?

    Secondly, while revoking the accused for acquittal, the High Court stated that the “two gentlemen” were extreme strangers to Mathura and it was very unlikely that Mathura would approach them to satisfy her sexual needs. It is very puzzling that the Court while convicting the accused referred to them as “gentlemen”.

    Supreme Court

    Finally, in 1979, the Supreme Court turned the conviction of the tribunal and acquitted the accused. The Supreme Court united with the Session’s court and agreed that it was a case of consensual sexual intercourse. At this point, the Supreme Court told that as there was an absence of marks of injury on Mathura’s body there was no resistance on her half as she didn’t raise any alarm for help, which means she consented to sex.

    Firstly, it’s astonishing that this Court has equated the shortage of resistance to consent.

    Even if Mathura tried to resist she would be incapacitated before 2 well-built, robust constables and therefore not possible for “marks of injury” to be inscribed onto her body. The Court read under section 375(3) of the IPC that her consent wasn’t obtained by putting her in fear as she did not raise a question when she was taken away from her family, which excluded section 375(2), which stated that rape is sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent.

    Second, it was also questionable as to how did the Court state that Mathura did not ask for help or shout for help when she was taken away. When Ganpat took Mathura upstairs to the washroom, it was stated that ‘all the doors were locked’, from which one cannot say as to whether Mathura shouted for help. Looking at this decision of the court, it was pertinent to question the court as to what would its judgment be if the victim was verbally handicap?

    Further, the Supreme Court agreed to the Sessional Court’s judgment that Mathura was habitual to sex and the entire story was framed to sound righteous in front of Ashok. This essentially showed that the Court gave the judgment based on the character of the victim and came to a conclusion without any link to the premise. It was believed that Mathura was so licentious that she couldn’t let go of any chance of getting involved in a sexual act, even when her relatives were waiting outside the same police station.

    Mathura’s mistake was that she pointed out the exact appellant who had raped her and this only worked against her, as the Court stated that if she went against her initial testimony, it could be possible that she was lying. No attention was paid to the fact that those men were strangers to her and that she had never seen them before or it might be difficult for her to recognize their faces clearly as the lights were switched off. The fact that remained was that Tukaram remained a spectator while Ganpat was raping her. The Supreme Court acquitted the accused stating that the alleged intercourse was a peaceful affair.

    AFTERMATH:

    This case stirred up great passions and brought a lot of indignation amongst the people of the society. It was felt that more laws need to be drafted , to protect the feelings, rights and dignity of the victims. This led to the Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983. The Act amended section 114(A), which stated that if the victim did not consent to sexual intercourse then the court would assume that there was no consent.

    This Act also amended section 376 of the IPC, which made custodial rape a punishable offense, with imprisonment not less than 7 years. The section shifted the burden of proof from the victim to the offender, once sexual intercourse was established. The amendment also held that there should be no publication of the victim’s identity and the proceedings should also be carried out as camera proceedings.

    Though there are a lot of judgments post the amendment which was successful in delivering justice to the victim, there are still quite a few that are perversely drafted like the Mathura Rape Case.

    Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year.
    Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra

    CONCLUSION:

    Even though the rape laws in India keep changing from time to time, the number of rape cases increase every year. It not only causes physical injury to the victim but also psychological effects like depression, sleeping disorders, depression, etc. A step towards the elimination of the crime would be increasing the safety for women in every state and rather than having stringent laws to penalize the rapists, it is the mentality and attitude of men that needs reformation.

    “They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest.” -Louise O’Neil.

    Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year.

    Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year.

    Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year.

    Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year.

    Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year. Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra; Criminal Law Amendment Act being passed in 1983; section 376; the number of rape cases increase every year.