Bombay HC grants bail to man booked for raping minor

The applicant was arrested on August 6, 2016, and a chargesheet was filed in due course.

The Bombay High Court has granted bail to a 24-year-old man who was arrested for raping a minor in 2018.

The court held that the prosecution could not prove the man’s involvement in the crime and that medical reports and forensic science laboratory (FSL) report of the victim prima facie failed to prove allegations of sexual assault by the applicant.

A single-judge bench of Justice Sandeep K Shinde passed the order on March 17 on a plea by the man who was booked on charges of rape and sexual assault under Indian Penal Code and of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

As per the complaint, the victim was 16 years old when the incident took place. On Friendship Day on August 5, 2018, the victim met the applicant, who she knew for a year along with a co-accused, a juvenile in conflict with law. The FIR said that she accompanied the person for a ride on a scooter along with the co-accused. Thereafter, the three went to a room allegedly of the applicant’s family and the duo sexually assaulted her.

The girl was allegedly threatened with dire consequences if she revealed the incident to anyone. However, after reaching home, she told her mother about it and an FIR was registered. The applicant was arrested on August 6, 2018, and a chargesheet was filed in due course.

Senior counsel Manoj Mohite, appearing for the applicant, referred to the medical and FSL reports of the victim along with WhatsApp chats between the two and submitted that material failed to indicate that the victim was sexually assaulted by the two persons.

After hearing submissions and perusing material on record, the bench observed, “Thus, the medical reports and the FSL report, together leads me to infer that prima-facie, allegations of penetrative sexual assault by the applicant and the co-accused on the victim was not likely. It may be stated that victim narrated incident to medical officer on two occasions and her narration suggests that she was forced by the applicant and the co-accused to accompany them and also shows, both fell on her and forcibly committed sexual assault on her.”

It added, “Had this been a true assertion, medical examination of the victim and the Forensic Science Laboratory report would suggest and corroborate her assertion.”

The court, while granting bail, directed the man to furnish a personal bond of Rs 30,000 with one or more sureties in like amount and also asked him to appear at the police station once a month until framing of charges against him.

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