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Can't Misuse Sexually Explicit Images/Videos Even If Captured With The Consent Of Women: Allahabad HC Denies Bail To Rape Accused

Sparsh Upadhyay
9 Oct 2021 1:49 PM GMT
Cant Misuse Sexually Explicit Images/Videos Even If Captured With The Consent Of Women: Allahabad HC Denies Bail To Rape Accused
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While denying bail to a rape accused, the Allahabad High Court on Monday observed that even if sexually explicit images and videos are captured with the consent of a woman, the misuse of the same can't be justified once the relationship between the victim and accused gets strained. The Bench of Justice Saurabh Lavania also stressed that in such matters, being parens patriae and...

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While denying bail to a rape accused, the Allahabad High Court on Monday observed that even if sexually explicit images and videos are captured with the consent of a woman, the misuse of the same can't be justified once the relationship between the victim and accused gets strained.

The Bench of Justice Saurabh Lavania also stressed that in such matters, being parens patriae and protector of fundamental rights, the court will come forward to protect the rights, dignity of the affected victims, who, the Court highlighted, are mostly women.

Further, observing that the possession of the material may be used by the perpetrators to blackmail the subjects into performing other sex acts or to coerce them into continuing the relationship, or to punish them for ending the relationship, the Court remarked thus:

"…the sexually explicit images or videos may be made by a partner of an intimate relationship with the knowledge and consent of the subject, or it may be made without his or her knowledge, however, the same if used as a form of revenge or harassment would definitely distort/damage the dignity of concerned and the Court in such type of cases cannot close its eyes and being parens patriae and protector of fundamental rights, the Court should come forward to protect the right of the subject and similarly the Court should stringently deal with the person concerned."

The matter in brief

As per the FIR, the victim-woman alleged that the bail applicant, between the period of 2012-2020. continued to commit rape with the informant/victim on the basis of obscene video clips and photographs made by him.

It was alleged that he committed rape with the informant/victim for the first time in the year 2012 and also made obscene video clips of the informant/victim and on the basis of same, he continued to rape her.

On the other hand, the Bail applicant, who has been booked under Sections- 354Ka, 354Kha, 354Ga and 354Gha, 376, 509, 323, 452, 504, 506 I.P.C approached the High Court arguing that he was in a relationship with the victim-woman from 2012 till February, 2020.

However, he submitted that when the victim got selected as Nayab Tahsildar in 2017, her marriage was fixed with some other man and thereafter, she denied continuing the relationship, even when the applicant was ready to marry her.

Denying the rape charges, the bail applicant specifically argued that it was a consensual relationship and that they were in a live in relationship.

Court's observations

The material available on record showed that the bail applicant had tried to distort/damage the reputation of the victim by sending obscene messages and photographs relating to her mother and sister.

The Court noted that the informant/victim had supported the version of FIR as also the conduct of the applicant, relating to sending obscure photographs and messages to the sister of the informant/victim.

Against this backdrop, the Court noted thus

"No person much less a woman would want to create and display gray shades of her character. In matters like the present one, any accused will surreptitiously outrage the modesty of the woman and misuse the same in cyberspace unhindered. Undoubtedly, such an act will be contrary to the larger interest of the protection of the woman against exploitation and blackmailing, as has, prima facie, happened in the present case."

Importantly, underscoring that the intrinsic value of every human being, which is to be respected and that every human being has dignity by virtue of his existence, the Court noted thus:

"Human dignity is a sense of self-worth. Therefore, dignity is a sense of pride in oneself that a human being has with them. This conscious sense makes them feel that they deserve respect and honour from other human beings. Many scholars argue that if a human being is in a humiliating or compromising situation then this is a major threat to their dignity."

Lastly, denying bail to the accused, the Court also stressed that it is the duty of the State, not only to protect human dignity but to facilitate it by taking positive steps in that direction.

Case Title: Guruvinder Singh v. State of U.P. And Anr.

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