Presence of a woman on a dating site cannot be an indication of her virtues and cannot be a ground to claim that a woman is of easy virtue, the Allahabad High Court recently observed while denying anticipatory bail to a rape accused, who on the false promise of marriage, allegedly established a physical relationship with the victim he had met on a dating site (Abhhey Chopra v. State of Uttar Pradesh).
Single judge Justice Vivek Agarwal denied anticipatory bail to the applicant stating the presence of woman on a dating site as an indicator of her consent for sex is something which has to determined at the stage of trial.
“Dating sites are not an indication to have judgment on anybody’s virtues. Merely, two adults meet on a dating site, and on the third day of meeting him, exchange of words are able to garner confidence that the other party is willing to marry and in the name of marriage, if physical favour is sought, then that will not amount to characterizing a victim, as a person of easy virtues having consented to physical relationship without there being any provocation like promise to perform marriage. Thus, in the aforesaid factual backdrop, presumption sought to be drawn by the learned Senior Advocate, as to the easy virtue of the victim and then deriving theory of consensual sex, may be a matter of trial, but at this stage of summoning, cannot be taken into consideration,” the Court noted.
The case against the accused was that he had entered had entered into physical relationship with the victim on false pretext of marriage.
The counsel for the applicant-accused, Senior Advocate Gopal Swaroop Chaturvedi, submitted that the accused and complainant had met through a dating site and they entered into physical relationship within four days of their acquaintance.
This demonstrated that it was a case of consensual sex, it was contended.
In this regard, the accused also placed reliance on mobile chat between him and the accused to argue that there was no talk of marriage between the two and therefore, the allegation that they indulged in physical relationship in the name of marriage proposal, was not made out.
Additional Government Advocate Vikas Goswami, representing the State, submitted that the accused was not cooperating with the trial and had not yet surrendered despite summons having been issued.
The Court said that the mere fact that the accused and victim met through dating site cannot lead to a presumption that the victim is of easy virtue who will consent to sex without promise of marriage. That, the Court said, will have to be determined at the trial and not at the stage of bail.
Regarding the chat between accused and victim, the Court noted that inquiring about the family status of the applicant and then about the birth date, personal habits like smoking and drinking, etc. are sufficient indications that there was something more than a physical relationship in the mind of the victim.
“Though it is true that there is no direct reference to the marriage proposal, but exchange of words showing affection and admiration for a newly met couple without making mention of marriage in the chat does not meant that the allegation of seeking favour without there being any promise of marriage can be deduced from the mobile chat,” the Court said.
In view of the above, the Court rejected the plea for anticipatory bail.
“Applicant is free to surrender before the court below and participate in the court proceedings.He may also, if advised, apply for regular bail, which the court concerned shall consider on its own merits without getting prejudiced from the order passed today,” the Court added.
Read Order here: