Bombay High Court grants bail to POCSO accused, says minor girl was capable of understanding

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The Bombay High Court recently granted bail to a 22-year-old man, arrested last year for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl [Faizan Wahid Baig vs The State of Maharashtra].

The Court granted relief to the accused after noting that the two were in a relationship and the survivor, though a minor, was capable of understanding the consequences of her act.

The allegation against the applicant was that he took the survivor to his aunt’s house and raped her before threatening her not to disclose the event to anybody.

Justice Bharati Dangre observed that according to the survivor’s statement, she voluntarily accompanied the applicant to his aunt’s place.

“Taking an overall view of the material compiled in the charge-sheet, 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,” the Court held.

The Court stated that although her consent was immaterial given that she was a minor, in a case where she voluntary accompanied the applicant and admitted that she was in love with him, whether or not she consented to sexual intercourse would be a matter of evidence.

“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,” it added.

Further, the Court stated that the time gap between the incident and when it was disclosed by the girl to her family was crucial as it was open to her to disclose it to the applicant’s aunt, who she met right after the incident.

“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 recorded.

Further, the Court stated that the possibility of the young boy being smitten by infatuation could not be ruled out and though he may take the consequences of the accusations levelled against him, further incarceration was not necessary.

“This is however, subject to the stipulation that he shall, in no way establish contact with the prosecutrix and shall move himself along with the family from the area where the prosecutrix is residing and shall not enter in no way make any attempt to establish contact with him, either physically or virtually,” the Court made it clear.

Therefore, the Court directed the applicant to be released on bail on furnishing a PR bond to the extent of ₹25,000 with one or two sureties of the like amount.

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