The Shocking Case of Shiney Ahuja

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

As the filmdom rejoiced at the private award ceremony of the Bachchans in Macau, Shiney Ahuja took time off to etch his name in the police records back home in Mumbai. A complaint lodged by his maid-servant put him in the dock for allegedly committing rape on her. It was all shocking to say the least. The supposed victim has spoken and the alleged accused has been caught and preliminary investigations reveal that indeed there was sexual intercourse – consensual or rape is the next question that needs to be answered.

I was reading an article in the TOI that talked about men being at a disadvantage in the current legal system that has clauses to convict a man simply on the basis of the statement given by the victim provided an intercourse is evidenced. What if a woman first gives her consent and then decides to go to the police claiming rape? The possibility of the woman in question consenting to Shiney’s advances cannot be ruled out in this case too.

Before I am counted as an insensitive soul, let me bring in the other perspective. The amendment to Article 114A of the constitution to treat a “No-consent” statement from the victim as evidence to stand in a court of law was made after two policemen were allowed to go scot free by the Supreme Court (Tukaram, 1978 Cr.LJ 1864 S.C) after raping a girl in a police station. The court admitted that there was an intercourse but could not count it as rape. It held that since the girl had raised no alarm and there were no visible marks of injury on her person thereby negating the struggle by her, the accused could not be prosecuted.

I think it is justified to include the clause to treat a “no-consent” statement as a permissible evidence to safeguard the interests of a victim under coercion from people who maybe in a position of influence/power. But what if the accused in question is a common man (unlike the policemen in the Tukaram case) who can’t possibly force the victim to not raise an alarm at all? The chances of misuse remain because even if no physical harm is evidenced on the girl, she can say that she faced a threat on her life and hence did not protest. Even that would fall under the ambit of rape.

If the allegations are found to be true, Ahuja deserves all the condemnation and punishment of the highest order. But the point is that even if he is speaking the truth about consensual sex, he might actually end up as the victim here. Hopefully the law would take its course and deliver justice.

Talking of justice, here are some bizarre judicial pronouncements that I came across:

1. The case of Bhanwari Devi, wherein a judge remarked that the victim could not have been raped since she was a dalit while the accused hailed from an upper caste- who would not stoop to sexual relations with a dalit.

2. The case of Sakina from Ernakulam, Kerela: She filed a suit against the upper echelons of the bureaucracy and society of Kerela for forcibly pushing her into prostitution. Her suit was squashed by the High Court, while observing that ‘it is improbable to believe that a man who desired sex on payment would go to a reluctant woman; and that the version of the victim was not as sacrosanct as to be taken for granted.’


Anonymous said...

Shiney has been claimed by his wife. But this is deeper that what it looks like. Wife is the one who contrived the whole thing. There were talks of divorce....not difficult to connect the dots.

Sensible Garbage said...

@anon: I think the chances are remote unless Abbas-Mustan are behind the scripting of this episode.

On a serious note, the complications and the rumors surrounding the case are the handiwork of media. They showcase Shiney as a villain and then go on to show the rebuttal of his wife. It is all for TRP. Remember the Aarushi murder case? The media scrutiny caused a lot of heartache to Aarushi's parents (the father was first labeled as a killer and then the news channels backtracked).

Amrita said...

The cases you have quoted are indeed a reflection on the judiciary. These have been condemned and criticized by higher courts/ NGOs etc. Its just astounding how a society can be so complacent about these issues and still consider them taboo.

There are two sides to the coin, as you mentioned. However, the nature of the crime is such that there is possibly no better way to deal with the alleged criminals. Consensual or not, Shiney should have known better. His act was immoral enough, if not illegal to face consequences.

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