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Bombay HC Grants Bail to Student Accused of Rape Due to Indications of Consensual Relationship

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Published on: 28 August 2023 at 12:00 IST

The Bombay High Court has approved the release on bail of a 22-year-old student accused under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which pertains to rape charges. Evaluating the Complainant’s statement and their WhatsApp discussions, the Court observed a preliminary inclination toward the possibility of consensual sexual intercourse.

The Court additionally noted the applicant’s prolonged detention of over a year and four months, alongside an absence of prior criminal history.

Justice M. S. Karnik, presiding over the bench, remarked, “Upon reviewing the victim’s statement, the option of a consensual physical relationship cannot be dismissed. Moreover, the victim’s friend, to whom she confided, disclosed the incident to her former friend – the one with whom she had previously severed ties. Based on his counsel, the victim lodged the FIR.

I have also examined the WhatsApp exchanges between the applicant and the victim, leading me to form a preliminary view that the alleged act may have been consensual.”

The applicant’s arrest took place on April 8, 2022, and the ensuing period of confinement exceeded one year and four months. With the investigation concluded and the chargesheet submitted, the Court acknowledged the likely extended duration of the trial.

Moreover, the Court highlighted the applicant’s age of 22 and student status, coupled with the absence of any reported criminal history. Based on these considerations, the Court concluded that the applicant could be granted bail.

The bail plea centered around a case registered under Section 376 of the Indian IPC. The Complainant had previously been in a relationship with the applicant’s acquaintance, which later terminated.

Subsequently, the Complainant engaged in communication with the applicant, who purportedly aimed to reconcile the Complainant’s connection with their friend.

Reportedly, on April 6, 2022, the applicant arranged a meeting with the Complainant at Greenwood Lodge in Powai, where the alleged rape incident occurred under the stated provisions.

Consequently, the Court endorsed the bail application, permitting the applicant’s release from custody.