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Bombay High Court Directed Man to Solemnize Marriage with Woman as Bail Ground for Rape

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Aastha Thakur

:Published on: 18 October 2022 at 17:22 IST

A man accused of raping a woman & leaving her, with the promise that he would marry her within a year, was granted bail by the Bombay High Court.

The Single Bench led by Justice Bharti Dangre held that the victim and accused were in a consensual relationship, and when she conceived a baby, he denied marrying her.

The defendant claimed that he, together with his family, was prepared to solemnise the union and acknowledge the child’s paternity. However, the court was informed that the prosecutrix, who was accused of leaving the child, is now untraceable.

The accused submitted that he and his family members were ready to solemnise the marriage and accept the paternity of the child. However, the court was told, the prosecutrix is now untraceable as she was charged with abandoning the child.

Justice Dangre states, “In the above circumstances, I deem it appropriate to release the applicant on bail subject to compliance that if the victim girl is traced within a short while and say in a period of one year, he shall solemnize marriage with her, but he shall not be bound by the statement beyond one year,” 

According to the charge sheet, the prosecutrix and the accused were neighbours and engaged in a consensual relationship with the knowledge of their families. She learned she was six months pregnant after they had physical intimacy 5–6 times.

In the prosecution’s case, the accused had agreed to marry her. But once she informed him of the pregnancy, he backed out of their aggrement.

On January 27, 2020, the prosecutrix gave birth to a girl. Three days later, she abandoned the newborn in front of a building with high walls and a watchman, anticipating that the watchman would take the child into his care.

The accused was booked in a FIR under the Indian Penal Code‘s Section 420 (cheating), 366 (kidnapping, abduction, or forcing a woman into marriage), and 376 (punishment for rape).

The accused claimed in his bail plea that the FIR was filed based on the prosecutrix’s admissions during her arrest for leaving the child behind.

According to the application, despite the prosecutrix’s desire to not file a complaint against the accused, the police recorded the case against the defendant nonetheless.

The court took notice of the accused’s affidavit, in which he declared his willingness to marry the victim and acknowledged his paternity as the father of the child. His claim has been verified by his parents. The infant has already been placed for adoption, though, as APP Rutuja Ambedkar informed the court, as the mother is untraceable.

The victim is untraceable despite the investigating officer’s best efforts, the court further said. According to the court, this may be related to the criminal case brought against her for abandoning a child unattended.

The accused is allowed to be released on bail under the court’s directive if the prosecutrix is located within a year. He will wed her. However, after a year, this condition would no longer be valid.

Case title – ABC v. State of Maharashtra