Mumbai: Granting anticipatory bail to a Nashik resident accused of raping a woman over a period of eight years under the false pretext of marriage, the Bombay High Court has observed that “if a relationship continues over eight long years, it may be difficult to draw an inference that the consent was under a misconception of facts.”
A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar recently granted pre-arrest bail to the man, observing, “In the backdrop of the nature of the allegations, even otherwise, we do not find that to facilitate further investigation, custodial interrogation of the appellant is warranted.”
The man had approached the HC after the sessions court at Nashik rejected his anticipatory bail application. Allowing his appeal, the HC has said that in the event of arrest, the man has to be released on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 25,000. Considering that the woman was still married when she went to reside with the man and had a live-in relationship for nearly eight years, the court questioned whether “it can be said that the appellant (man) had physical relations with the prosecutrix without her consent.”
According to the prosecution, the woman had lodged a complaint with the police on November 6, 2019, alleging that she had a commercial dispute with the man and when she went to demand the money, he sexually assaulted her. However, a few days later, she filed another complaint on November 23, 2019, alleging rape and that the man abused her as she was from scheduled caste. She alleged that the man pursued her after her marriage. She willingly had a live-in relation with him and got her marriage annulled. However, later she alleged that the man backtracked on his promise and married another woman.The judges said that the offences alleged in the supplementary statement are serious and in normal course, a woman would not have forgotten to mention. “The nature of relationship between the prosecutrix and the appellant, the alleged sexual exploitation on the basis of false promises of marriage, the intentional intimidation and humiliation of the prosecutrix for the reason that she is a member of scheduled caste, are all such grave matters which, in normal course, the prosecutrix would not have missed to state,” added the HC.