The Karnataka High Court, in its latest judgement, has noted that it was “unbecoming of an Indian woman” to sleep after she is “ravished”, while granting a pre-arrest bail to a man accused of rape, cheating and criminal intimidation.
Justice Krishna S. Dixit said the above on Tuesday while allowing accused man’s application for anticipatory bail. Giving reasons for the bail order, the judge noted that the complainant’s claim of having slept “after the perpetration of the act” because she was tired was “unbecoming of an Indian woman”. The order read,
That is not the way our women react when they are ravished.
The court, meanwhile, has laid down six conditions for the accused to follow while he is on bail, violation of even one, according to the order, will entail its cancellation. He has been barred from leaving without permission the jurisdictional limits of the trial court where his case will be heard and will have to report to the police station every second and fourth Saturday of the month.
This statement in the order has sparked a controversy with many on social media, however, one must understand the details of this case.
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 prosecutrix’s car and went to her office with her, where he raped her.
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Accordingly, the accused was booked under
- Section 376 (sexual assault)
- Section 420 (Cheating)
- Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC and
- Section 66-B of the Information Technology Act, 2000
He had approached the High Court under Section 438 of CrPC, seeking anticipatory bail.
Observation Of High Court
During the course of hearing, the court expressed its reservations about the genuineness of the prosecutrix’s case, while conjecturing as to the reasons behind:
- Not raising alarm when the Petitioner got into her car
- Voluntarily having alcohol with the Petitioner
- Waiting to lodge a complaint until the next morning
The court observed,
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.
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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 judge, however, held that the “serious nature” of the crime alone cannot be a criterion to deny liberty to a citizen, specifically when no “prima facie” case has been made out by the police. The judge added,
The version of the complainant that she was subjected to rape on the false promise of marriage in the given circumstances of the case is bit difficult to believe at this stage.
He also questioned the complainant for not approaching the court earlier when the accused had allegedly “forced her for sexual favours”.
This apart, the court also took the existing Covid-19 crisis to note that prisoners are at risk of infection. It applied the principle of “bail is rule and denial is an exception” to allow the petitioner’s plea.
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