Mumbai News

Bombay HC Grants Bail to Accused in POCSO Case, Says Minor ‘Understood Consequences of Her Actions’ – The Wire

New Delhi: The Bombay high court recently granted bail to a man accused of raping a minor girl, saying that she would have understood the consequences of her actions in being with him alone and was in a relationship with the man.

The girl in question is 15 years old, while the man is 21.

“It appears that the applicant though minor, was capable of understanding the consequences of her act and she voluntarily accompanied the applicant to her aunt’s place,” Justice Bharati Dhingra noted in her order, according to LiveLaw.

The girl reportedly told her family about the incident on April 29, 2021, after her sister saw WhatsApp messages between the girl and the man. In her statement, the girl has said that she and the man were in a relationship, and on April 6, 2021 had gone to her aunt’s house in Gavandi together. According to her, once there, he forced her to have sex and also threatened her not to talk about the incident.

The man was arrested under Sections 363, 376, and 506 of IPC and sections 4, 8 and 12 of the POCSO Act last year.

The court, however, said that the minor’s consent is immaterial in this case because she had chosen to go with the accused to a place they would be alone. “In a case like this, where she voluntarily joined the company of the applicant, and she had categorically admitted that she was in love with the applicant, whether that she consented for the sexual intercourse or not, is the matter of evidence,” LiveLaw quoted the judge as saying.

“Till what point of time, she accompanied the applicant and whether she resisted the actual physical indulgence, when according to her, the applicant forcibly committed sexual intercourse with her against her wishes, will have to be determined,” the court continued.

The judge also noted that the girl spoke about the incident only after her family objected to the WhatsApp messages they found. “The time gap between these two events is also crucial as it was always open for the prosecutrix to disclose the aunt about the forcible act if it was committed in her house, but she continued to remain silent and disclosed the incident only when an objection was taken for she establishing contact with the applicant.”

The court only noted that the accused is a “young boy” and it is possible that he was “smitten by infatuation”.

The court granted the accused bail, while saying that he must not try to contact the girl any way, and also move away from the neighbourhood where she lives.