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Failed relationships should not result in false rape case: Bombay HC calls for efforts to prevent misuse of rape laws

The Court said, “This Court thinks that in such cases a robust mechanism ought to be developed for imposing heavy costs on such individuals who end up wasting the time of the Investigating Authority as well as the Court.”

On 14th June, the Bombay High Court called for a robust mechanism to prevent the misuse of rape laws, especially in cases that stemmed from failed relationships between adults. The court said that such cases waste valuable time of the court and the police. While granting bail to the accused based on the affidavit submitted by the advocate of the complainant, the court said, “This Court thinks that in such cases a robust mechanism ought to be developed for imposing heavy costs on such individuals who end up wasting the time of the Investigating Authority as well as the Court.”

The court was hearing a bail plea where a woman filed a case against her ex-partner alleging he forced her to indulge in a non-consensual physical relationship. Justice Manish Pitale highlighted that such cases are increasing in urban areas of Mumbai leading to unnecessary consumption of resources. The court added these resources wasted on such cases could have been utilised in investigating serious offences.

Justice Pitale said, “With the passage of time, the alleged victim and the accused come together, having resolved their differences and then the victim gives consent for grant of bail and even for quashing of such proceedings. This Court thinks that in such cases a robust mechanism ought to be developed for imposing heavy costs on such individuals who end up wasting the time of the Investigating Authority as well as the Court. In an appropriate case, this Court shall proceed to pass such an order.”

The Bombay High Court granted bail to the accused in the case, Saket Abhiraj Jha. He was arrested on the charges of rape, extortion and defamation under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the IT Act, of 2000. The FIR against him was lodged based on the complaint of a woman on 1st November 2023. In her complaint, she claimed that in October 2022, Jha forced her to drink alcohol and then engaged in non-consensual sexual activity. She also accused him of taking nude photographs and videos of her.

She further claimed that the same act was repeated on 28th November 2022 and subsequently, he allegedly extorted Rs 75,000 from her. She also accused him of publishing her number on social media leading to obscene messages being sent to her from unknown individuals.

Jha’s advocate, Jyotiram S Yadav, argued that the couple was in a consensual relationship and FIR stemmed from a misunderstanding. He highlighted Jha was in custody since 2nd November 2023 and the matter between the accused and complainant was resolved since then. The chargesheet in the matter was filed by the police on 28th November 2023.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Tanveer Khan however opposed the bail. He emphasised that the allegations against Jha were severe including the charges under Section 377 of IPC. He argued that the nature of the offences and the harassment via social media should be enough to deny the bail.

Advocate Mamta Hasrajani, representing the complainant had filed an affidavit on 14th June 2024 stating the complainant and Jha had resolved the differences and she wanted to withdraw her complaint. She said the complainant has no objection to Jha being granted bail subject to certain conditions.

The court said that the allegations against Jha were serious and the record showed that he was prima facie involved in serious offences. However, considering the victim’s affidavit and the resolution of differences between the parties, the court decided to grant bail to Jha.

The court said, “Looking at the serious allegations made against the applicant, this Court was reluctant to consider the present application favourably, as the learned APP correctly points out that in the face of such serious allegations and sufficient material to connect the applicant with such allegations, bail ought not to be granted. But, considering the said affidavit of respondent No.2 (complainant), which has been taken on record, this Court is inclined to allow the application, subject to appropriate conditions including the specific conditions insisted upon by respondent No.2.”

Jha was released by the court on bail upon furnishing a PR Bond of Rs 50,000 and one or two sureties in the same amount. Furthermore, the Bombay High Court prohibited Jha from contacting the victim directly or indirectly and from entering the jurisdiction of Kashimira Police Station except for mandatory reporting.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
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