Current AffairsIndia

Delhi Court refuses to grant anticipatory bail to TV anchor accused of rape

A Delhi Court has rejected the anticipatory bail plea filed by 28-year-old TV anchor Varun Hiremath in connection with a rape case registered against him (State v. Varun Hiremath).

Additional Sessions Judge, Fast Track Courts at Patiala House Court Sanjay Khanagwal said,

Considering the nature of accusation made against the accused, evidence collected by the IO against him and the facts and circumstances, gravity of the offence and discussion made…I am not inclined to grant anticipatory bail to the accused.”

Hiremath sought bail on the ground that he had been falsely implicated in the case as the act was consensual in nature.

It was submitted that the prosecutrix came from Pune to Delhi to meet him and checked into a hotel room with the accused.

The fact that she herself gave her identity documents was sufficient to show that she was interested in going to a hotel room for the purpose of a sexual relationship, it was argued on behalf of the accused.

The Court was also informed that the accused and the prosecutrix had a history of sexual relations.

The 22-year-old prosecutrix argued that merely going into a hotel room did not show her intention to indulge in sexual activities.

It was contended that the accused booked a double-occupancy room without informing the prosecutrix and she gave her identity document thinking that the same was required on account of COVID-19 guidelines.

The Court noted that the prosecutrix in her complaint as well as her statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) specifically denied that the act was consensual and that she was unable to resist the accused as she feared being injured due to his aggressive behaviour.

The subsequent chats between the parties wherein the accused indicated that he was sorry for his acts were also taken into consideration.

The Court accordingly opined,

…this question of treating ‘no’ as ‘yes’ coupled with the conduct of the prosecutrix and the accused is a matter of trial, only when prosecutrix will get a chance to record her testimony. But at this stage of the anticipatory bail application, this court cannot lose the focus of the facts of this case and ingredients of the commission of an offence under Section 375/376 IPC, in which this FIR has been registered. Although, opinion at this stage does not tantamount to expression on the merit of this case.”

It added that although the parties had a “loving relationship” and that they indulged in sexually explicit talks, the same was of no relevance in view of Section 53A of the Indian Evidence Act.

Further, in view of Section 114A Evidence Act, the Court observed,

“…if a woman states in her evidence before court that she did not consent, the court shall presume that she did not consent. In such circumstances, the presumption under Section 114A Evidence Act, at this stage, cannot be ignored although this must be at the time of trial, but the evidence collected by the IO till today in the form of complaint, and WhatsApp and Instagram chats and written transcripts are sufficient to say that this not a case where such presumption appears to be absent.”

The bail was accordingly rejected.

The prosecutrix was represented by advocates Jai Anant Dehadrai, Sidharth Arora and Ashna Chhabra. Advocate Vijay Aggarwal and Sandeep Kapur appeared for the accused. RK Bhati appeared for the State.

Via Bar & Bench
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