Friday, April 01, 2016

Court Dismisses Rape Charges Against Seer

Based on the news item at -

The judge has thrown out the rape case filed against Sri Raghaveshwara Bharati Swamiji. The judge did not even find it worthy of ordering a trial.

What intrigues me is, if a judge, just one person, could go through the charge-sheet as submitted and find it not worthy of a trial, how come the state machinery with a large legal cell lead by the attorney general recommended that such a weak charge-sheet be submitted in the first place?? Do they really like to lose, get humiliated, waste public money and bring down the overall conviction rate? Do two similarly trained legal entities (the judge and AG's office) think so drastically different?

Normally if the state is not convinced that it has a viable case, it submits B (or some other) report to the court stating that their investigation did not result in anything meaningful to charge the accused. This happens all the time because many times complaints are simply false or frivolous. Many times they are filed with malicious intentions. Cops can very easily find that out provided there is no interference and if some other higher officer does not force them to make a case when there is none. Filing B report is very routine. The state does not want to fight on behalf of the public any more than absolutely needed. That's common everywhere. There is only a limited money that any government can use to fight for its public. So a sensible government wants to make sure that if it is fighting on behalf of a citizen, the case better be credible and the complainant better be a genuinely impacted person seeking justice.

By not filing charge-sheets that get thrown out like this, the state/police achieve two things. 1) They are not humiliated like this. A case going for trial and then someone losing or winning is one thing. But a case getting thrown out like this is a hard slap on the state machinery. It is like saying, 'you did not do your job right!' 2) Most important thing is it saves taxpayer's money. When the state takes up the case of the complainant it is like the society putting some faith in the case of the complainant and going after the accused using taxpayer's money. Before doing so the state should be reasonably sure that the case is worth pursuing. If not it amounts to wasting taxpayers' money.

Right from the beginning this case appeared very flimsy even to a layman. Very flimsy at least in the way it was laid out. Highly unbelievable. The complainant saying that she was raped for '169' times, that she was raped under the influence of drugs mixed in the sacred special prasad etc. These all seemed highly implausible. The complainant herself along with her husband was accused of blackmailing by the religious institution. She later accused the head of the institution of raping her. Blackmailing charge on the complainant came first. The rape charge came later. It seemed like the rape charge was to counter the blackmailing charge. That added another strange twist. Was the rape charge made to counter the blackmailing charge? Blackmailing case is still under investigation.

There were news reports that even after a through investigation, the CID police and its legal cell were not very interested to file the charge-sheet. Why? Was it because they were not convinced by the veracity of the case? If so, would it have made sense to wrap up the case then itself and save taxpayer's money rather than only to see the case thrown out now?

Why submit the cases which get thrown out like this? Same thing happened with IPL spot fixing case. That was also summarily thrown out by the Delhi court saying it did not have anything substantial to order a trial.

Media can / must report on the progress of the case. That is fine. But how come the complainant was allowed to make her case before the media and thus influence the case? Why was not a gag order issued against her from discussing the case details which was still sub judice? Leave aside the court issuing a gag order, did it not occur to media that by giving so much coverage to the complainant they were unduly influencing the case? That defies all commonsense. If this were in a county (like USA) with the jury system, complainant or anyone related to complainant talking to media would have made them ineligible to seek justice for wrong behavior. There has to be some semblance of seriousness when you go and seek justice. Media trial seriously affects the jury trial. Must be stopped. Media also has to act responsibly by just reporting the progress of the case and not conducting media trial.

Anyway, one round of legal process is over. What's next? The state prosecutor said they will appeal against the current ruling in the high court. Not sure if it was his personal on-the-spur-of-the-momet opinion or if the state is serious about it. Do they seriously believe this case is worth wasting additional taxpayer's money? Only they know.

There is one more rape case pending against the same Swamiji. That has been filed by another complainant. That case is still in the investigation phase. We will have to wait and see if the state files charge-sheet in that case or takes a different action.

I believe the complainant is free to seek justice via civil litigation. That happens all the time. For example, famous basketball player OJ Simpson murdering his wife in 1995. He was acquitted in the criminal trial as not-guilty. But, he was found guilty in the civil trial and had to pay damages. The civil trial is directly between the complainant and the accused. There the complainant has to spend his/her own money. Taxpayer's money is not spent and if spent it is limited.

PS: If commenting on this post, please limit to legal aspects of the case and limit to the facts. Not interested in the personal views about the pontiff or speculations.

(Copied from my Facebook status.)


sunaath said...

Dear Mahesh,
(1) This is a high profile case. If the State does not file a case against the pontiff, it will be accused of bending before the high-ups. The State likes to appear neutral and unbiased.
(2) The State is little bothered how much of the public money it properly utilizes or wastes criminally.
(3) For the same reasons, the State is appealing to the higher court and also to save face of its machinery.
(4) You are right to say that the media crosses the limits and conducts its own trial.
(5) Our police is capable of finding the culprits of many crimes even after as long a period as twenty years. I give them credit for their patience and urge to seek the criminals.
(6) But many times the police is corrupt and lets off the criminals with a B report. Or the police presents a weak case before the Court. The judge rebukes the police and closes the case. He may even pronounce the case unworthy of a trial like in this case.
(7) As I cannot at all ascertain the facts and fiction in this case, I do not like to judge.

Mahesh Hegade said...

Thanks Sunaath Sir. Good points.

Anonymous said...

Nice article on this case,