Author : Nisha Patnaik, Student at KIIT School of Law, Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Tukaram and Another v. The State of Maharashtra case which is better known as the Mathura Rape Case, triggered endless violence and controversy, in consequence of which major moderations in the field of rape laws was done that govern India. In this case , a young girl named Mathura was raped . The verdict in this case, handed down by Judge Jaswant Singh, Kailasam, and Koshal, was widely mocked because it was not sensible, legitimate, and linguistic and used its subtlety and other cunning.
FACTS OF THIS CASE
Mathura who was an orphan from Harijan, lived in the village along with Gama, her brother. She worked as a housemaid for Nushi. She eventually developed a sexual relationship with Ashok, Nushi’s nephew during her employment. After that, they decided to get married. According to a report submitted by Mathura’s brother on 2 th March , 1972 which stated that Mathura was abducted, all the individuals involved, which included Ashok, Nushi and other relatives, were brought to the police station. After all of their statements were recorded by the police officers , Mathura was asked allegedly to wait inside the police station by the police officers and the police officers told her brother and others to go out of the police station I.e to wait for Mathura outside the police station. Initially the Ganpat, who is the first appellant asked Mathura to wait inside the police station. Then, after that the appellant closed the doors of the police station and also switched off the lights, he took her to the washroom and raped her despite the fact that the police officers were opposed to do so by the young girl. After this , the second accused Tukaram, who could not rape as he was very drunk, sexually abused her. After reuniting with her family, Mathura told them about the incident, and whens he underwent medical examination, it was confirmed that Mathura had no injuries. Mathura was examined under the surveilance Dr. Shastrakar on 27th of March, and who advised her to file a FIR accordingly.
- Was there consent on girl’s part ?
- Whether Applicants Number 1 and No.2 will be charged Section 375 and Section376 of the Indian Penal Code?
- If the action of the police officer will be the same as rape defined under the Indian Penal Code?
- Are the reasons for the court’s finding of a police officer justified?
The opponent objected to:
(1) There was no direct evidence of the girl’s confession to the alleged sexual act. Therefore, it should have been taken from the status quo and it would not have been available in those circumstances under which the girl was placed or had fear or coercion as it would allow the tendency of any “unrepentant submission”.
(2) Allegations that sex was peaceful and that the issue of firmness were all fabricated and false.
(3) The estimations that the young girl who had screamed loudly from inside the police station are all false.
(4) The presumption of the Hon’ble Supreme Court that a girl must have had sexual intercourse for fear is not the same as confession.
On the other hand, disputes arose on behalf of the victim that the girl was at the police station where she would have felt powerless in front of two complainants who were in authority and their progress could not be dismissed on their own and sexual intercourse may be the result of panic. The protesters turned off the lights and closed the door of the police station.
According to the Court’s ruling, in the question of consent, the sex had grown in harmony as the young girl was accustomed to having it and wanted to meet her needs for the same .
In the evidence presented before the Tribunal, it was established that Mathura was sexually active and because of this evidence, both applicants were charged under Section 376 of The Indian Penal Code and were found not guilty. But the High Court argued that although Mathura was accustomed to having sex and since both suspects did not know Mathura, how he could have sex with them to meet his sexual needs. The Supreme Court reversed the Court’s decision once and for all, arguing that sex was rape and not an agreed sexual act. It is proved that since Mathura was young, even though she had not been given permission; how it can be considered a valid permit. The Court of Appeal acquitted the appellant and the High Court charged the police with rape which is Section 376 of the Criminal Statute of the country. The High Court convicted the two of the officers on the ground of raping the young girl.7
Finally, in the year 1979, the Hon’ble Supreme Court reversed the High Court’s decision and acquitted both of the appellants , the Supreme Court, of the appeal, overturning his sentence, saying that Mathura would not have been intimidated at the police station, especially as relatives were outside, and theCourt did not believe Mathura’s actions that she resisted the temptation and cried out for help. The court described this as “` false tissue “and eventually released both suspects.
It is shocking how the Supreme Court has measured the missing of refusal to consent for what happened. If also the young girl had tried to resist she would have felt helpless and powerless in the presence of two well-built, strong and thus would not heave been possible “signs of injury” on her body as he would not have been able to fight the two while Court reads Section 375 (3) as she did not questioned to the situation when she was asked to stay inside and her family members were asked to go out and it excluded Section 375 (2) which states that rape is a forceful activity that takes place without the consent of the woman .
Secondly, in my opinion the fact is very doubtful that how the courts assure that the girl did not scream for help. The doors were closed by the appellant when he took Mathura to rape her. Also if she would have screamed for help, it is very likely that she must not have been heard.
Mathura’s mistake in identifying the appellant for the rape directly worked with her because the Court held that if she had disputed his initial evidence by transferring the accused from Tukaram to Ganpat, she may have also lied about everything else. In my opinion it is unheard of that the appellants were not known to her and she had never seen them before the incident or that it would be difficult for her to see their faces properly as the lights were off when they raped her . Plus I don’t see the point in thinking about her sexual and health history. All women, not just Mathura no matter what their reputation, have the right to receive all the protection they need in order to deal with any form of harassment.
Although rape laws in India have been changed after the Mathura case and in the long run, rape cases continue to increase every year. In addition to causing serious physical harm to the victim, these crimes have serious psychological consequences such as depression, relapses, sleep disturbances and more.
 Anubhav Pandey, ‘Case Analysis – Tukaram and Another v. State of Maharashtra (Mathura Rape Case)’,April 19, 2018
 Suchi Jain,’CriticalAnalysis on Mathura Gang Rape Case’,july 2018