"Given the conduct of the victim of her voluntarily leaving her home under the pretext of fetching water from the water source and fact that the accused is also unmarried, the possibility of romantic love going wrong is there", remarked the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday (12th November) while granting bail to a 21-year-old man accused of raping a 16-year-old girl.
The Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara was hearing a regular bail plea of a 21-year-old accused who alleged that the family of the girl forced her to lodge a false complaint to break their love affair.
The police arrested the petitioner on 2.9.2020, in FIR No.107 of 2020, registered under Section 376, 363 and 366A of Indian Penal Code, 1860, (IPC), and Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offices, Act, 2012 (POCSO Act), in Police Station Dharampur, District Solan, Himachal Pradesh.
Facts of the Case
He further told the SHO that the victim had gone to fetch water from 'Baudi', which is at 100 meters. distance but she did not return home. The family conducted a frantic search but could not trace her.
On verifying one phone, which belongs to the mother of the complainant, i.e., grandmother of the victim, they noticed one phone call. When the complainant called back on the said number, it was switched off.
However, they came to know from inquiries that the phone belongs to Karan-petitioner herein. Thus the complainant suspected that Karan had allured his daughter and had run away with her. Thereafter, the Accused was arrested.
Arguments put forth
The learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the victim and the petitioner belong to adjacent villages and are known to each other from childhood and it is a case of romantic love and not of rape and that incarceration before the proof of guilt would cause grave injustice to the petitioner and family.
On the other hand, while opposing the bail, the Additional Advocate General submitted that since the victim is a minor, as such there is no question of consent.
The Court in its order noted,
"Although the victim is aged 16 years but simultaneously, the accused is also aged 21 years and both of them are the residents of adjacent villages. Given the conduct of the victim of her voluntarily leaving her home under the pretext of fetching water from the water source and fact that the accused is also unmarried, the possibility of romantic love going wrong is there."
The Court further said,
"An analysis of entire evidence does not justify further incarceration of the accused, nor is going to achieve any significant purpose. Without commenting on the merits of the case, the stage of the investigation and the period of incarceration already undergone would make out a case for bail."
In related news, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Wednesday (11th November) granted bail to a man accused of 'raping' a minor girl on the ground that the girl had consented to the sexual intercourse.
"Although, she could not have consented for sexual intercourse as well as leaving custody of her custodian but for deciding the bail, her conduct is sufficient to grant bail to the petitioner", Justice Anoop Chitkara observed.
Case title - Shri Karan v. State of Himachal Pradesh [Cr.MP(M) No.2013 of 2020]