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Complainant 27 years old, relationship prima facie consensual - Bail graned to rape accused

Complainant 27 years old, relationship prima facie consensual - Bail graned to rape accused

Manoj Kumar M R Vs State of Karnataka and Ors

Karnataka HC

13/01/2022

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1933 OF 2021

About/from the judgment:

The High Court recently granted bail in a rape case after observing that the relationship between the accused and the complainant appeared to be consensual prima facie.

The Court granted bail to the appellant-accused, who allegedly raped the woman but did not marry her as she belongs to a particular caste, and then tried to strangulate her.

The Court noted that as the woman is 27 years old and it appeared they got their second pregnancy terminated voluntarily, she knew the consequences of having a sexual relationship with the appellant.

"The age of the second respondent is 27 years. She knew the consequences of having intercourse with the appellant.....It is difficult to arrive at a conclusion at this stage that the appellant used to have sexual intercourse with the second respondent forcibly," the Court observed.

The allegations against the appellant were that when he was working as a manager in Bajaj Finance Limited he met the second respondent, who was working in the same company. As their relationship developed, he told her he loved her and would marry her, after which he forcibly had sexual intercourse with her.

Following this, he continued to have a sexual relationship with her by threatening to upload intimate videos of them on social media.

The respondent became pregnant twice in the next two years, and was forced to terminate both the pregnancies by the appellant. On July 10, 2021, the appellant told her that he would not marry her as she belongs to the “Madiga” caste, and tried to strangle her with a charger wire. Out of desperation, she later attempted to take her own life. On September 6, 2021, the victim made a complaint to the police.

The man was charged under Sections 376 (punishment for rape), 313 (causing miscarriage without woman's consent), 307 (attempt to murder) and 417 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and offences under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The appellant argued that the intimate relationship between the appellant and the second respondent was entirely consensual. They both presented themselves as husband and wife for the termination of the pregnancies, and she gave her consent for the procedure. As a 27-year-old woman, she knew the consequences of what she was doing.

Moreover, in August 2021, the appellant approached Vanitha Sahayavani, a community collaboration and helpline of the Bengaluru City Police which provides support to women in distress as he found it difficult to bear with the torture she was putting him through.

It was only after he approached the Vanitha Sahayavani services that she filed the FIR. Since there was nearly a 2 month delay in the last alleged incident and the complaint to the police, it indicated that the FIR was an afterthought. Given these facts and circumstances of the case, and since the investigation of the case is already completed, the appellant ought to be granted bail, the lawyer argued.

The second respondent contended that the second respondent was forced into a sexual relationship with the appellant through threats, and that her pregnancies were forcibly terminated. The relationship was developed under the guise of a false promise to marry.

When the appellant found out the caste of the victim, he refused to marry her, which is an offence under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, it was submitted.

Regarding the allegations that the appellant refused to marry the victim on account of her caste after which she attempted to take her own life, the Court observed that if the incident were true, it was not understandable why she waited for nearly 2 months before approaching the police.

It may have been the case that she approached the police only when she realized that the appellant had made a complaint against her to Vanitha Sahayavani.

The Court in disposing of the petition, stated:

" ... it is not difficult to arrive at a conclusion that the appellant has been able to make out a case for grant of bail. The Special Court ought to have considered these aspects of the matter at the time of deciding the application for bail. It appears that very routinely the Court below has come to conclusion for denying the appellant's application for bail."

The man was released on a bail bond of two lakh rupees, and told not to threaten witnesses, tamper with evidence, or influence the woman. He was ordered to appear before the trial court as and when required and not commit any other criminal offence.

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