The Bombay High Court in its recent order dated January 3, 2022 has granted anticipatory bail to a man accused of forcing his mother-in-law into a sexual relationship. The charges seemed concocted after it was submitted that both the man and his wife had initiated divorce and domestic violence proceedings against each other.
According to the woman, the son-in-law raped her before and after marrying her daughter.
A single-judge bench of Justice Sarang V Kotwal was hearing the pre-arrest bail plea filed by the man in connection with the FIR registered in Ulhasnagar under:
- Section 376 (rape)
- Section506 (criminal intimidation)
- …of the IPC. It was alleged that the incidents took place in 2019 and 2020.
The Bombay High Court held that it was improbable for a woman to allow her daughter to marry a man who had forced her into a sexual relationship earlier.
FIR By Mother-in-Law
The FIR filed by his mother-in-law stated that in 2017, when she lived with her husband and two daughters in an apartment in Ulhasnagar, the man, who was the secretary of that building, would visit them often. She alleged that in early 2018, he tried to get physically close with her, threatening to defame her if she did not oblige.
Subsequently, her daughter was in a relationship with the same man and the family got them married in June 2018. The couple had a son in July 2019. The woman alleged that in February, 2020, the man, now her son-in-law, went to her house when she was alone and forced himself upon her. When she rejected his overtures, he allegedly sexually assaulted her.
In December 2020, the couple fought and the wife returned to her parents in Ulhasnagar. It was then that the woman confided in her family and the FIR was registered.
Arguments by Accused (Son-in-Law)
The man’s advocates Dimple Joshi, Krishna Khatri and Hiral Joshi argued that the allegations were levelled against him only after the complainant’s daughter fought with him and left him.
They submitted that the man had initiated divorce proceedings in March 2021 while his wife had initiated proceedings under the The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (2005) in November the same year, and that the current FIR was lodged as “a clear attempt to pressure the applicant and to implicate him falsely.”
Bombay High Court
Justice Kotwal said,
The allegations in the FIR do not inspire confidence about their truthfulness. The FIR describes as to how the applicant had misbehaved with the informant in the month of February 2019 and yet she willingly allowed the applicant to marry her daughter. This conduct itself is unnatural.
The allegations of offence under section 377 (unnatural offences) of IPC are also made at a belated stage by way of a supplementary statement. At this stage, sufficient doubt is created about the prosecution story.
The high court accordingly directed to release the man on bail on a personal bond of Rs 30,000 with sureties in the event of his arrest.
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