The Rashomon effect is named after a 1950 movie made by Akira Kurosawa. In the movie, a murder is described by four witnesses in contradictory ways. Their description reflects their own subjective interpretation and vested interests rather than the objective truth. If their testimonies are used as evidence in a litigation, this can result in the unravelling of the case due to inconsistency. Many famous cases recently have resulted in zero indictment for either lack of evidence, contradictions or hostile witnesses. The 2G scam or Babri demolition are two well known cases, which resulted in all acquittals. This failure could also be because the prosecution did not build a watertight case, or the investigation was shoddy. Was the investigation or prosecution shoddy deliberately or
because of a lack of training and resources with the officers?
These questions come to mind as we witness the evolving case of a brutal gangrape and murder of a young woman in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh. The police say they filed a first information report on the same day as the incident. The woman died more than two weeks later as she was moved from one hospital to another, due to her serious injury. Before she died, she identified the group that savagely assaulted her. She was cremated hastily by the police in the middle of the night, and even her family was denied the right to claim her body. Now the police say that the rape charge was after a week, when she was in hospital, casting a doubt on her. Senior officers are saying that forensic evidence shows there was no rape. A second post-mortem was not allowed or conducted.