The Bombay High Court recently granted protection from arrest to a rape accused after it was discovered that the parties have “settled the dispute/discord amongst themselves” (Manohar Shinde v. State of Maharashtra).
Justice PD Naik confirmed the interim protection granted to the accused by a co-ordinate Bench of the High Court in December 2020 after he was informed that the relationship between the parties is now “cordial and they are residing together”.
The accused, a police constable, was charged with offences under Section 376 (2) (punishment for rape), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 504 (breach of peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as Sections 66(E) (violating of privacy) and 67(A) (transmitting material electronically) of the Information Technology Act.
The accused had an extra-marital affair with the prosecutrix, which was based on a promise to marry her after he divorces his first wife.
Aggrieved by the deferment of the accused to institute divorce proceedings, the prosecutrix approached the police and lodged a complaint against the accused.
She also levelled charges to the effect that she had spent an amount of Rs. 1,70,000 on him.
The accused approached the Mumbai Sessions Court for protection from arrest. However, that application came to be rejected. Hence, he approached the High Court seeking protection from arrest in October 2020.
This application came to be withdrawn after the High Court showed its disinclination to grant protection.
In December 2020, he filed a second anticipatory bail application before the High Court.
The single-judge Bench of Justice Bharati Dangre granted interim protection from arrest after noting that the accused had instituted proceedings to quash the First Information Report (FIR) against him. This after it was observed that the parties amicably settled the discord amongst themselves. Justice Dangre had also observed that the promise of marriage was the pretext on which the prosecutrix permitted the physical relationship.
In light of the petition filed, and the allegations in the complaint which “reflect a consensual relationship”, the Court proceeded to grant the accused interim protection upon his furnishing a PR bond of Rs. 25,000.
In February 2021, this interim protection came to be confirmed by Justice Naik after he was informed that the accused had also instituted unilateral divorce proceedings against his first wife.
The prosecutrix was also made a party in the second anticipatory bail application, wherein she expressed no objection to the accused being protected from arrest.
The accused was represented by Advocate SS Bedekar and the prosecutrix was represented by Advocate Arjun Kadam.