Mumbai: Observing that the relationship appeared consensual despite the accused being a married man, the Bombay High Court has granted pre-arrest bail to a lawyer accused of raping his client.
Justice Anuja Pabhudessai recently granted him pre-arrest bail saying: “At prima facie, the relationship appears to be consensual. In view of the above, no case is made out for custodial interrogation.”
The HC was hearing a plea filed by the advocate seeking anticipatory bail in an FIR registered by the Malvani police on March 23.
Woman alleges the advocate hid his marital status
According to the plea, the two got acquainted in January 2023. The woman claimed that the advocate was helping her with some litigation. He apparently claimed that he was unmarried and promised to marry her.
On the day of the alleged incident, the complaint claimed, that he would come over to her house with his parents to discuss their marriage. However, he came alone and had forceful intercourse with her on that day. On another occasion, he allegedly called her to Bandra Court to register their marriage. But he didn’t turn up on that date and began giving her evasive responses, the complaint alleged.
The judge noted: “The case of the prosecution is that the Applicant, who is a married man, had sexual intercourse with the first informant against her will and without her consent on a false promise of marriage.”
The accused lawyer’s advocate Kareem Pathan argued that there was a delay of 18 days in filing the complaint. Also, he submitted a copy of a selfie taken just five minutes after the woman said she was ‘raped’. On the date she claimed to be waiting at Bandra Court, she was actually in Kurla Court where she is arraigned as an accused in a separate case, the lawyer added.
Accused and victim were well acquainted with each other
“The records reveal that the Applicant (accused advocate) and the first informant (woman), both adults, were acquainted with each other,” Justice Prabhudessai said adding that the documents prima facie depict a consensual relationship.
The judge said: “The material on record particularly WhatsApp chats, messages, prima facie indicate that the first informant was in constant contact with the Applicant not only after the alleged date of the incident but even after lodging the FIR i.e. even after knowing that he is a married man.”
The HC has directed that the advocate be released, in case of arrest, on furnishing bail bonds in the sum of Rs 25,000 with one or two sureties of the like amount.