What do you think?
The Madras high court has awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation to actor Mansoor Ali Khan who was accused and convicted of raping a 23 year old woman around 16 years ago.
The woman had alleged that she approached the actor after he put up an advertisement for a secretary. She claimed that Khan offered her juice laced with sedatives and raped her repeatedly and threatened her against revealing it to anyone. In May 1998, she gave birth to a girl.
Mansoor Ali Khan was arrested on December 11, 1998 following the sexual harassment complaint lodged by the woman. In March 2001, Khan was awarded seven years’ rigorous imprisonment by trial court and a fine of Rs of 3 lakh as compensation to the woman.
However, Madras High Court voided his prison term, but asked him to pay 3.25 lakh to the woman and 7 lakh to the child. Later, he challenged the HC ruling in Supreme Court, where his appeal was dismissed in February 2008.
In his petition in the HC, Khan said he came across a matrimonial case initiated by the woman, seeking to reunite with her husband. Claiming that the marriage took place in August 1994, she had sought restitution of conjugal rights, the petition said. [IHM: This is not clear, does this alone make her accusations of rape false? Or does this prove that she was a ‘habitual offender’?]
The actor pointed out that the woman had told the trial court during examination that he was responsible for her losing her virginity and that it was the first time she had had intercourse, albeit by force. Accusing her of furnishing false information to court and succeeding in her efforts, Khan said he had been maliciously prosecuted and subjected to humiliation.
He said the woman had first approached him for help, and he had extended financial assistance to her as he was mandated to do charity as per the Mohammedan Law. Claiming that his association with the woman was purely on humanitarian considerations [IHM: This can be proved with a DNA test?] the actor said she slapped him with a charge of rape as she feared he would stop helping her. Calling it fraud, he wanted a compensation of 50 lakh towards loss of reputation and film career. The woman failed to appear before the court despite summons.
Justice T Mathivanan directed the woman to pay 50 lakh to the actor as damages towards malicious prosecution and defamation. [From here: Woman to pay Rs 50 lakh for accusing actor of rape, and here, Rape or not? Woman to pay R 50 lakh in lost ‘virginity’ case]
What do you think?
1. Was a DNA test conducted (or required?) to find out if the actor was the father of the child?
2. Withholding information could indicate malintent I suppose, but does it matter that she was not a virgin, or even if she was married at the time when she claimed she was raped?
3. I think ‘rape’ in legal terms is also used to describe consensual sex if the woman was promised marriage (or lied to, or cheated) to get her to consent. Do you think the appropriate term in such cases would be ‘cheating’ or ‘breach of trust’ or another term, but not ‘rape’?