Tuka Ram & Anr V. State of Maharashtra


A minor girl was reportedly raped by two police officers on March 26, 1972, while they were holding her. In Maharashtra’s Desai Gunj Police Station, this occurrence occurred. In the context of Indian rape legislation, this case brought up a number of concerns, most notably the burden of proof and the consent question.


The Sessions court held that the defendants were not guilty due to the voluntary consent of the victim. It was held that Mathura willingly gave her consent to the sexual intercourse as she was habituated to it. The Sessions judge has ruled that rape and sexual intercourse are different terms and cannot be used in the same case.

The case was then appealed in the Bombay High Court, which took note of all the findings in the trial conducted in the sessions court. The High Court has appreciated the observation made by a Sessions Judge that there’s a difference between rape and sexual intercourse. However, they forgot to point out that there’s a difference between passive submission and consent. The court then noted that the consent given to the accused was not voluntary and was made due to the threat of arrest by the police.

Later, the case was referred to the Supreme Court, where the accused were acquitted. The Court noted that the girl did not show signs of any resistance or injury and that her consent was voluntary. Also, the girl might have incited the police as she was habituated to sex. The Supreme Court of India has ruled that the sexual intercourse that was in question was not rape.

Changes brought upon the laws after this case

Due to the controversial nature of the verdict, which led to widespread protests and public outcry, India’s rape law was amended in 1986. During the time of the Mathura rape case, the rape laws in India were heavily biased towards rapists.

The main issue which was raised was about the concept of consent. Earlier it was very difficult for women to prove that they did not consent to sexual intercourse. After the judgment of this case, in 1983, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act was passed, which brought various changes in the Indian rape law.

In 1983 Criminal Law Act, a new Section 114(A) of the Indian Evidence Act was inserted to enable courts to presume that the victim did not consent to the sexual intercourse if she was assaulted if she had said that she did not consent for the intercourse.

Subsections a, b, c, and d of Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code underwent various amendments made by the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013. This Act also adds the word “custodial rape” to the Indian Penal Code 1860 for offenses that are carried out when a victim is in custody.

Persons who violate Section 376(2) are subject to rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than ten years or for life with a fine. The burden of evidence always being with the victim was modified by the Act. When there has already been sexual activity, the onus of proof shifts to the accuser. The Indian Penal Code’s Section 228A forbids publishing the names of rape victims. as a result of the 2013 Criminal Law Amendments Act changes.

In India, the Mathura rape case, which provoked protracted demonstrations and widespread outrage, had a profound social and legal consequence. As a result, several sexual harassment statutes were established.

Adv. Khanak Sharma (D/1710/23)

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