Himachal Pradesh High Court, while granting bail to a person accused of rape, apparently gave sermons to the victim on the need to maintain purity and chastity. Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan, said “it is ultimately the woman herself who is the protector of her own body and therefore, her prime responsibility to ensure that in the relationship, protects her own dignity and modesty”. The court opined that “Once the prosecutrix knew that the petitioner is a married man, it was for her to restrain herself and not indulge in intimate activities.”
However court added “No doubt, it is the responsibility, moral and ethical both, on the part of man not to exploit any woman by compelling or inducing her for sexual relationship”. But a woman is not expected to throw herself to a man and indulge him promiscuity thereby becoming a source of hilarity, the court said.
These observations by the Court came while considering an anticipatory bail application by the accused. He was accused of “subjecting the victim to sexual intercourse in pretext of marriage”. The court, examining the records opined “the record reveals that it is a classic example where the relationship between the parties has gone sour.” Additional Advocate General, who appeared for the state, had contended that the petitioner is accused of a serious offence.
In support of its decision to grant bail to accused, the High Court cited various decisions of the apex court and said “Seriousness of the allegations or the availability of the material in support thereof is not only the considerations for declining the bail. After-all, at the pre-conviction stage, there is presumption of innocence.” The court also observed “it cannot be said that petitioner would in any manner interfere with the trial of the case and it is not even the allegation of the prosecution that petitioner would flee from justice”
The High court also cautioned the trial court not to get influenced by the opinions expressed by it. The judgment concludes “observation made hereinabove shall not be taken as an expression of opinion on the merits of the case and the trial Court shall decide the matter uninfluenced by any observation made herein above.”
It may be relevant here to read a report by Live Law about Supreme Court expressing its anxiety over the growing number of cases where the women in failed relationships had filed rape charges against the men, accusing them of inducing them into a sexual relationship on the promise of marriage.
Read the order here.