The Karnataka High Court gave the eye-catching unbelievable statement in the Rakesh B V. State of Karnataka. The High Court granted the anticipatory bail to the rape accused stating that it was ‘unbecoming of an Indian woman to sleep after being raped’. This was the conclusion deduced by Justice Krishna S Dixit after the victim’s explanation that after the perpetration of the act she was tired and fell asleep. She was unable to explain why she was at her office at 11 PM and her consumption of alcohol also.
In the instant case the complainant (43 years old woman) is the employer of the rape accused (27 years old) who was working there for the past 2 years. It was alleged that the accused had developed the sexual relations with the complainant on the false pretext of marriage. The night of the incident, the accused got into the complainant’s car and went to her office, where he allegedly raped her. After this the accused is charged under the Indian Penal Code Sections- 376 (sexual assault), 420 (cheating), 506 (criminal intimidation) as well as Section 66-B of the Information Technology Act, 2000. According to the version of the complainant she had been to the Indraprastha Hotel for the dinner and that the petitioner (accused) having consumed drinks came and sat in the car.
After this the anticipatory bail have been filed by the petitioner which was opposed on the grounds that the offences alleged are serious in nature, and there is sufficient material on record to relate the accused to the commission of the said offences. It was further contended that if the bail is granted then it will become difficult to secure his presence for the investigation or trial.
However, the court held that the only “serious nature” of the crime cannot be a criterion to deny the liberty to a citizen, specially when no prima facie case has been made out by the police. The court was minded to grant the bail as because the accused have been the employee at her office for 2 years then why the complainant did not approach the police at the earliest as when the accused was allegedly forcing her for sexual favours. The complainant by her own will was ready to meet the accused at such an odd hours and willingly consumed alcohol with the accused. She even allowed the accused to be with her till morning. She even did not raise any alarm when the accused got into the car. The main reasoning behind such a peculiar order was that the complainant was ravished but still she failed to lodge the complaint to the earliest. This is not how the Indian woman react after such a serious crime. The complainant allegedly written a letter which stated that she is ready to withdraw the complaint if a compromise is brought.
In the conclusion to all this the court has granted bail to the accused imposing certain conditions on him failing of which will cancel the bail granted. The liberty is gained by the jurisdictional police. The accused have to execute the personal bond of sum Rs. 1,00,000/- should cooperate with the police for investigation, mark his attendance as stated and not leave the jurisdictional limits without prior permission.
This judgement has created a momentum among the citizens. On several occasions, judgements have been passed in our country especially relating to the status of women which have been subject to criticism, be it the reminiscence of infamous Mathura Case (Tukaram and Anr v. State of Maharashtra 1979 AIR 185) or Farooqui judgement 2017 which quoted- “ A feeble no may mean a yes”. Such blunders were always corrected by the judiciary as they are looked upon as a ray of hope by the citizens of country.
Even in present case, people have expressed their dissenting opinions, even eminent lawyers have written letters to Hon’ble Chief Justice of India. It must be understood that the issues related the women are very delicate which should be dealt with utmost care and responsibility as it may have lasting impact upon society and the status of women in the country.
Written by- Manaswini Rawat, Intern, H.K. Law Offices [Student 8th semester (B.A.L.L.B), Chandra Prabhu Jain College of Law]