“Tumhara chehra rape ka FIR karne layak nahin hain.” A woman who turned to the cops to lodge an FIR against a man who had duped her into a live-in relationship was turned away by a female police officer on the pretext of this bizarre rationale.
The cop went on to sanctimoniously tell her that if she had truly loved the man who wronged her, she wouldn’t lodge a complaint against him, but would marry another man and live happily ever after.
Before receiving such pearls of wisdom from the female cop, the complainant had even been told by a senior inspector that there was “no point” in lodging a rape case.
Rekha, (name changed) a 28-year-old resident of Malad, had moved in with her boyfriend after he promised he would marry her.
After he dumped her unceremoniously and married another woman years later, she turned to the police. For four consecutive days, police officers refused to register an FIR, saying ‘saheb chhutti par hain.”
She then met Senior Inspector Subhash Dafle, who also refused to register an FIR and assured her that all would be fine in a few days.
“Dafle told me, ‘Rape ka FIR karne me koi fayda nahin hai. Char din me sab theek ho jayega. Rapist to Goregaon- Malad me chhipa nahin hai ki use pakad layein (There is no use filing an FIR for rape. Everything will be fine in four days. It’s not like the rapist is lurking in Goregaon or Malad that we can catch him),” said Rekha.
Faced with the blunt refusal of cops, Rekha approached the Borivli Magistrate Court on December 15 with the help of lawyer Ashok Yadav.
The court then passed an order asking that an FIR be registered against Santosh Sharma under Sections 376, 406, 420 and 498 (A) of the IPC for dowry, rape, cheating and breach of trust.
But even the court’s order couldn’t convince the cops to take action.
“The honourable court passed an order asking the police to register an FIR on the same day, but Kurar police turned a deaf ear. They aren’t even obeying the court’s order,” said Yadav.
Armed with the court order, Rekha met officer Jyoti Bhopale with the court order. But instead of registering the FIR, Bhopale started giving her some unsolicited advice, replete with veiled insults.
“She told me, ‘Tumhara chehra rape ka FIR karne layak nahin hai. Agar tum usse sachcha pyar karti to uske khilaf complaint nahin karti. Jao kisi aur se shadi kar lo aur khush raho (Your face doesn’t merit a rape FIR. If you loved him truly, you would not lodge a complaint against him. Go marry someone else and stay happy,” said an outraged Rekha.
Rekha met Santosh Sharma (30) at a garment shop in 2006 and they soon became friends. They started living together. Sharma even introduced Rekha to his family as his ‘wife’. Sharma would give Rekha Rs 8,000 every month. Rekha would even give part of her salary to Sharma’s father. In 2009, Sharma went abroad for a job. He then started distancing himself from Rekha, and stopped communicating with her. When he was confronted, he refused to tie the knot with her, saying that he couldn’t do so as he was a heart patient.
“Sharma told me, ‘Main heart ka patient hun isliye shadi nahin kar sakta,’” said Rekha.
In March, Rekha went to Sharma’s native district in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. She was shocked when police officers and villagers told her that Sharma had married another woman.
Sharma’s father Guru Dayal Sharma told Rekha that since she couldn’t pay him Rs 2.5 lakh in cash and give four tolas of gold, he made his son marry another woman. “Santosh swore on his mother’s life that he didn’t know me,” said Rekha.
The other side
In spite of repeated attempts, Senior Inspector Dafle of Kurar police station could not be reached for comment. “I am not aware about the court order, but I will look in to the matter,” said Nisar Tamboli, spokesperson for the Mumbai Police.