The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice in plea filed challenging Madras High Court's order granting conditional bail to former Minister and AIADMK leader M. Manikandan in a rape case.
A bench comprising CJI NV Ramana, Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice Hima Kohli issued the direction in a special leave petition filed by the complainant girl.
The former Minister had been charged with the offence of rape on the false pretext of marriage and was arrested on June 26, 2021 until he was granted bail on 7th July last year.
Through the impugned order, Justice M. Nirmal Kumar extended a conditional bail to the Minister after observing that there lies "a clear distinction between rape and consensual sex".
The complainant is a Malaysian Citizen who was employed in the Malaysian Tourism Department and Corporation. On May 3, 2017 during the course of her official work, she had come in contact with the accused as the accused had expressed his interest in starting a business in Malaysia. Shortly thereafter, the complainant and the accused began a relationship and started to reside together.
During their period of cohabitation which lasted for 5 years, the complainant alleged that the accused would physically harass her. Furthermore, as alleged despite constant assurances of marriage, the accused did not end up marrying the complainant. Consequently, the accused also allegedly threatened to leak the complainant's private photographs if she did not return to Malaysia as demanded by him. The complainant also alleged that during the course of their relationship, she was forced to undergo abortions on multiple occasions.
The High Court had noted that the complainant was aware of the fact that the petitioner is a married man with children and is also a public personality. Further, the Court observed that from the evidence collected it could not be concluded that the complainant was forced to undergo abortion by the accused.
Refuting the allegations of the complainant, the Court had noted that the complainant had intentionally enjoyed the wealth and lifestyle of the accused and had voluntarily continued her relationship from the year 2017 onwards.
Further, citing the instance of the accused losing his Ministership on August 8, 2017, the Court had inferred that the relationship shared by the complainant with the accused was consensual.
Case Title: X (DISCLOSING IDENTITY OF THE VICTIM OF SEXUAL OFFENCES UNDER SECTION 228A OF INDIAN PENAL CODE IS PROHIBITED) vs STATE OF TAMIL NADU AND ANR.