The Bombay High Court recently granted bail to a man accused of raping a minor on the grounds that there were discrepancies related to the victim’s age and also observed that the accused and the victim had had ‘consensual sex’ in the past.
The court noted that the victim was not a minor as ossification report indicated that she was 18-19 years old and not 14 as claimed in her complaint. The court also observed that there were earlier instances of sexual relationship between the accused and the victim and the same appeared to be consensual.
Granting bail to the accused, Justice Prakash D Naik noted, “There are discrepancies relating to the documents regarding date of birth of the victim. The ossification test report on record indicates that the victim is aged about 18 to 19 years. Considering the factual aspects, the case for grant of bail is made out.”
The complaint stated that the victim was about 14 years old. The accused resided in the building adjacent to her. She stated in her complaint that another resident had informed her that the accused intended to talk to her and wanted to marry her. The victim refused to accept his proposal, after which the accused allegedly continued to harass her. As per her statement, he sexually assaulted her and threatened her not to disclose the incident to anyone. The accused had a physical relationship with the victim on several occasions, she said. On January 2 last year, the accused called her at his residence where his parents and sister were present. He allegedly told her that he would not marry her and his sister assaulted the victim, prompting her to lodge a complaint.
Counsels representing the accused argued that the charges were ‘concocted’ and ‘fake’ and said that even if her allegations are assumed to be true, the relationship appeared to be consensual. They further submitted that the victim and her family members had suppressed her age.
Additional Public Prosecutor A A Takalkar, however, submitted that prima facie the documents on record indicate the victim was a minor and the relationship was non-consensual. Opposing the bail plea, the police submitted that since the victim was threatened, it was a forcible sexual assault and arguments by accused can be considered during the trial.