The case had been quite clear since the start. Amit had raped Riya, and everyone knew that. The scratches on her body, her hair on Amit’s clothes, the DNA test, his absence from his best friend’s birthday that night were the evidence.
Justice was ready to be served, until I intervened. I am the lawyer whom Amit had hired. Amit, a rapist and a molester, and today, I am going out there, in the courtroom to save a rapist from getting arrested.
After the usual proceedings, the glares my client and I got from the disgusted people sitting in the court room, and the nauseous feeling on seeing a girl completely destroyed by my client, I finally sat at my designated place, ready to fight another battle.
The prosecutor began.
“Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God”
“I do,” she said. Her eyes were the epitome of pain and disgust towards the accused.
“What happened on the night of 14th January?” the prosecutor started the questioning. Tears welled up in her eyes. There was no point in asking her about the rape. Her shaking hands, her teary eyes, and her angry brow made everything quite clear.
“Amit and I were at Rehan’s party.” She finally started speaking amidst the sobs.
“Who is Rehan?” He queried.
“He is Amit’s best friend. We had met quite many times. We both never liked parties a lot. He brought me a drink and then we went out to get some air, away from that congested room. I started feeling dizzy and the nextthing I remember is Amit...” she broke off into tears.
Her sobs seemed to resound throughout the court room, making me more and more nauseous and guilty. I looked at Amit through the corner of my eyes. He was smiling.
That bastard was smiling after all that he had done, but I had to do what I was hired for. I got up to cross question Riya.
“So, Riya, as you said that you and Amit had met quite a many times, right? What kind of meetings were they?” I asked, trying to put in a subtle doubt in everyone’s mind.
“We had met through Rehan. He was a mutual friend. Rehan introduced me to him when the three of us went for a movie. We became friends and we had quite a many friendly meetings,” she said, stressing on the word ‘friendly'.
The prosecutor had trained her well.
“So can we say that you were good friends? I mean Amit and you?”
“Yes we were.” She looked at Amit sadly, who was glaring back at her, threatening her with his eyes.
“And it is quite possible that you people often hugged each other or got physical, in a friendly manner?”
“Yes. We did.”Riya could not make out what I was trying to hint.
“So, my lord, I want to prove the point that the hair on Amit’s clothes could have come from a mere hug and the scratches could be the result of a fight between the two, not necessarily a rape.”I sat down, smiling at Amit.
He didn’t smile back. He seemed rather disoriented to appreciate my art. Riya stood dumbfounded as the prosecutor asked her to get down and called Rehan into the cubicle.
“Rehan, how were you and Amit related?” he began.
“We were best friends,” Rehan Said with shame.
“Yes. After what he did with Riya, I do not want to even call him someone whom I once knew,” he Said looking away from Amit.
“Do you believe your best friend could have done such a thing?”
Rehan was quiet for a long time until he finally spoke. “Yes, he could. Although, he was my best friend, he always had his eye on Riya. I never imagined that he would do something like this, or I would never have made them meet.”
Rehan broke down like all others who came after him, accusing Amit in the most slanderous way possible. Riya was still crying and the case seemed to be going out of my grips, but Amit didn’t seem to care. He smiled as each one of them kept on railing him, until he came close to me and asked me to call him up into the cubicle.
“I am ready to accept my mistake,” he Said.
My world came crashing down. The case was gone.
“I cannot do that, Amit. I can save you. Trust me,” I tried to reassure him.
“I do not want to be saved. Just do this one last thing. I will give you your money. You need not worry about that,” he smiled.
“I want to call my client, Amit Sharma, into the cubicle,” I finally gathered courage and uttered those words.
“Permission granted,” the judge replied.
“So, Amit what would you want to say against all these charges?” I asked knowing he won’t say anything against them.
“Nothing,” he smiled.
“I am here to accept my crime,” the words landed in a chaotic court room as everyone stood taken aback.
“Order. Order.” The hammer on the judge’s table pounded on my chest like a nail into my career’s coffin.
“I am here to accept the crime of trying to leave a drunken girl home safely. I am here to accept the crime that I am a man and all men do is rape. I am here to accept the crime that I fought against a girl who tried to seduce me into having sex with her, and I protested. Though she was not in her senses, she was the one who warned me that she loved me and if I didn’t do what she said, she’ll kill herself. I am here to accept the crime that I thought that my family, and my best friend would trust me and support me through all odds. I am here to accept the crime that I thought I would easily survive in a society so biased, that they do not even need to hear my side of the story, in a society where I might get beaten up if my hand touches a girl, by mistake. I am not a rapist. I will never accept that, whatever the judgment is. Even if I am acquitted today, what happens? There will be another Riya tomorrow and there will be another Amit standing in the cubicle trying to justify himself. Some will believe him. Some will still not. But what happens to Amit even if he is acquitted? Riya did succeed in breaking him down. It is my crime. I am a criminal,” Amit broke down for the first time, weeping, crying out loudly in a silent court of people, trying to absorb all that had just happened.
“You may step down Amit,” I finally Said, guiltier than ever. I had, like all others judged a man, not even asking him about his story and I was his lawyer. I kept a hand around him as he proceeded to his seat, and he smiled back at me.
The judge finally broke the silence.
“Keeping in view all the statements given by the witnesses, the scratches on Riya’s body, the DNA test, and Amit’s absence from his best friend’s birthday party, the court declares Amit guilty of rape, under section 375 of the Indian Penal Code and sentences him to fifteen years of jail.” With the hammer, Amit’s world came crashing down.
The police picked him up from the seat beside me by his collar, as I saw the marks on his chest
He saw me looking and smiled at me and that day, I knew that he was raped, but not by Riya. His soul was raped by his best friend, his family, his lawyer and the society.
The only words he said to me as he was going were, “After all, she raped me once. The society will rape me everyday!”
Thanks for reading.