Kerala: Woman who alleged rape by health worker tells HC it was consensual

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A case pertaining to the alleged rape of a woman by a junior health inspector, to whom she had gone for a negative certificate, has taken a new turn, with the woman telling the Kerala High Court it was consensual sexual intercourse.

Following the affidavit of the woman, the HC on Tuesday granted bail to the accused, Pradeep Kumar, 44, who has been in jail for the last 77 days. Kumar had been removed from service after the rape allegation. The issue, reported in early September, had snowballed into a major controversy.

While granting bail to the accused, judge P V Kunhikrishnan said, “The criminal justice delivery system cannot go on like this. Based on a false complaint, a person is in jail for about 77 days. This Court cannot shut its eyes in such situations. The Director General of Police should take this case very seriously and do the needful, and file a report based on the inquiry before the court within three months.”

The court directed the police to take appropriate action in accordance with law against the woman and her relatives, who allegedly prompted her to file the rape complaint.

The complainant has been working as a home nurse in Malappuram. On August 30, she had contacted the health inspector at Kulathupuzha primary health centre in Kollam district before undergoing a inter-district journey. The next day, when the woman tested negative for the disease, she contacted the health inspector to obtain a Covid negative certificate. As advised by the health inspector, she went to his residence in Pangode Village in Thiruvananthapuram district.

The woman, in her statement to the police, had alleged the health inspector assaulted her brutally. She alleged both her hands had been tied behind her back, and her mouth was closed with a dhoti. She alleged her legs were tied together, and the other end of the same cloth was tied to a cot. Thereafter, she alleged, the accused raped her. She said she was threatened not to reveal the incident.

The accused was arrested on September 7 following the complaint from the woman. He was charged under Sections 323, 506(i), 376, 376(2) (n), 376C (b) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Kumar had twice moved the HC seeking bail. The third bail application was moved on Tuesday along with the affidavit of the woman, which was attested by a notary.

In the affidavit, the woman told the court she had complained against the accused at the behest of her relatives, but had actually had consensual intercourse with him. She further stated that she was not interested in going ahead with the case.

Referring to the affidavit of the woman, the court said, “The personal liberty of a citizen is his fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. This is a fit case in which the petitioner should be released on bail forthwith. This should be taken very seriously. Nobody should make such false complaint against a person.”

The court said the allegation in the case ‘tarnished the image of health workers in the state and if anybody is responsible for that, the law of the land should act swiftly’.

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