Noting the "unbecoming" conduct of an alleged rape victim who slept after being "ravished", the Karnataka High Court on Monday allowed the pre-arrest bail application of the accused in the case.
"The explanation offered by the complainant that after the perpetration of the act she was tired and fell asleep, is unbecoming of an Indian woman; that is not the way our women react when they are ravished," the single-Judge bench of Justice Krishna S. Dixit observed.
The accused in the present case was employed by the prosecutrix since past two years. It was alleged that he had developed sexual relations with her on the false pretext of marriage. It was further alleged that on the night of the alleged incident, the Petitioner got into the proxsecutrix's car and went to her office with her, where he raped her.
Accordingly, the accused was booked under Sections 376 (sexual assault), 420 (Cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC and under Section 66-B of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
He had approached the High Court under Section 438 of CrPC, seeking anticipatory bail.
During the course of hearing, the court expressed its reservations about the genuineness of the prosecutirx's case, while conjecturing as to the reasons behind (i) not raising alarm when the Petitioner got into her car; (ii) voluntarily having alcohol with the Petitioner; and (iii) waiting to lodge a complaint until the next morning.
"The version of the complainant that she had been to Indraprastha Hotel for dinner and that the petitioner having consumed drinks came and sat in the car, even if is assumed to be true, there is no explanation offered for not alerting the police or the public about the conduct of the petitioner," the court observed.
As regards consumption of alcohol Justice Dixit observed,
"Nothing is mentioned by the complainant as to why she went to her office at night i.e., 11.00 p.m.; she has also not objected to consuming drinks with the petitioner and allowing him to stay with her till morning; the explanation offered by the complainant that after the perpetration of the act she was tired and fell asleep, is unbecoming of an Indian woman; that is not the way our women react when they are ravished."
The court also pondered upon the delay in filing a complaint and wondered as to why the prosecutrix did not approach the Court at the "earliest point" of time when the Petitioner was allegedly forcing her for sexual favours.
Significantly, the state counsel had argued that the charges against the Petitioner were quite serious in nature and "it is unsafe to the society" to grant advance bail to such offenders.
Rejecting this contention however, the court observed that "seriousness alone is not the criteria to deny liberty to the citizen."
"Offences alleged against the Petitioner…are serious in nature, is arguably true; however, seriousness alone is not the criteria to deny liberty to the citizen when there is no prima facie case from the side of the State Police," Justice Dixit said.
He further remarked that the Courts cannot lose sight of COVID-19 pandemic, which poses the threat of infection to the detenues in prison, and it therefore allowed the pre-arrest bail plea on the Petitioner furnishing a personal bond of Rs. 1,00,000/-.
The court further told the Petitioner that he shall not leave the jurisdictional limits of the court without prior permission; and he will be obligated to mark his attendance at the jurisdictional Police Station every alternate Saturday.