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Man charged with raping maid acquitted

While stories of domestic help being victimised have dominated news headlines of late,a recent judgement by a city court has highlighted the other side to the story – that of false cases registered by domestic workers against their employers at the behest of placement agencies.

While stories of domestic help being victimised have dominated news headlines of late,a recent judgement by a city court has highlighted the other side to the story – that of false cases registered by domestic workers against their employers at the behest of placement agencies.

While acquitting a man accused of raping his maid,Additonal Sessions Judge Kamini Lau called for a regulatory mechanism to check these agencies which exploit migrant domestic helps and use them to settle their own personal scores.

“I may observe that there are increasing incidents of gross misuse and abuse of the laws relating to rape and sexual abuse and exploitation of uneducated,ignorant and uninformed domestic workers by placement agencies for their personal gains,” the judge said.

“Recently,there has also been a spurt of cases relating to rape and sexual abuse being registered on allegations made by the migrant domestic workers. In many cases,these young girls from backward areas are being rampantly exploited by those running the placement agencies who use them as pawns to settle their personal scores with professional rivals and customers,” the court added.

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According to prosecution,the 19-year-old maid had been working in the house of the accused for about two years. One day the owner of her placement agency came to his house and took the girl away,saying that she would come back in two days. Instead,a few days later,the accused was informed that there was an FIR out against him and he was arrested under charges of having raped and criminally intimidated the girl.

The court however,noted that that the only evidence against the accused was the statement of the girl which did not hold up to scrutiny as several portions of her statement changed over time. “The whole sequence of incident as narrated by the prosecutrix does not appear probable and creates a doubt in the mind of this court,” the judge said.

Further the court noted that the main grievance of both the girl and the owner of the placement agency was that the accused was not allowing the maid to go back to the agency after her one-year period without a suitable replacement.

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While acquitting the accused,ASJ Lau also noted that thought the legislature is considering putting in place a regulatory mechanism for these placement agencies,for now it was also necessary for employers to exercise sensitivity and compassion while dealing with the workers employed by them.

“It has also been observed by this court that it is in those cases where either the domestic worker is under paid or where the said worker has been detained by the employer for an unusually long period. that these workers have unfortunately resorted to invoke the laws relating to sexual abuse for achieving their goal,being ill-advised as has happened in the present case,” the court said.

First published on: 19-04-2012 at 00:40 IST
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