Mumbai News

Bombay high court rejects bail plea of Pune man accused of raping business partner’s 17-year-old da… – Hindustan Times

Observing that “rape is just not a forcible intercourse, it means to inhabit and destroy everything,” the Bombay high court (HC) last week refused bail to a 34-year-old man from Pune who was booked for raping the 17-year-old daughter of his business partner. The court held that the man had taken advantage of the “fiduciary relationship” shared with the survivor and put her in a “vulnerable situation” and hence did not deserve bail.

The bench of justice Bharati Dangre, while hearing the bail application of the Pune resident, was informed by advocate Venkatesh Shastry that the survivor and his client were in love and though she was only 17 years old, she was mature enough to know what she was getting into. Shastry, however, denied that his client had raped the girl on three occasions, as alleged by her in her police complaint.

The survivor’s complaint stated that the man, who was a family friend and business partner of her father, had started contacting her through WhatsApp since October 2019. He sought sexual favours from her through the messages, which she refused, stated the police complaint. On December 6, 2019, the accused asked the survivor to meet her alone as he wanted to discuss an important family issue. The next day when they met, the man took her to a farm house. There, he threatened to end his life, if the minor did not give in to his sexual overtures, stated the girl’s complaint. The survivor submitted to him but not disclose about the incident to her family, as she was threatened by the man that it would have an adverse effect on the business if she did so.

However, the man again blackmailed the girl for sexual favours at his home on January 1, she revealed everything to her parents, following which a complaint was lodged against him on January 30.

Shastry opposed the claims on the grounds that the survivor went through the incident thrice and the complaint was lodged belatedly, hence, it could be because the survivor’s father wanted to take advantage of his business partner.

After hearing the submissions, the bench observed, “The applicant has taken advantage of the fiduciary relationship, which he shared with the victim girl and put her in a vulnerable situation. Assuming but not accepting that the victim girl consented for maintaining the physical relationship, her consent is not a free consent. The penal code does not recognise the consent by a minor girl to be consent in the eyes of law and in the present case, in the backdrop of narration by the victim, her consent can naturally be said to be induced by fiduciary relationship which she shared and on that count also, it is not a free consent.”

The court further added that considering the gravity of the accusation levelled against him and the testimony of the victim, it was not inclined grant the accused bail.