Mumbai: Considering the factors like age of the accused and relationship between him and the victim, the Bombay High Court granted bail to a 20-year-old student. He was booked for raping his schoolmate under the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and has been in custody since March 14, 2022.
Justice Anuja Prabhudessai noted that the first information report (FIR) prima facie revealed that “the accused and victim were studying in the same school and they were in relationship with each other. They had indulged in sexual intercourse when both were aged below 18 years.” The physical relations continued even after they attained the age of majority.
Threat to make obscene videos viral
A complaint was filed by 19-year-old girl alleging that between 2019 and 2022, the accused raped her by threatening that he would make her obscene videos viral. She even alleged that the boy threatened her at gunpoint and also assaulted her.
However, seeking bail, the boy contended that the case was filed only to take revenge as he had blocked her because of a fight that they had during their relationship. The contention can be corroborated from the chats between the girl and elder brother of the accused, said the bail plea.
Boy’s Advocates Majeed Memon, Mateen Qureshi and Khalil Girkar argued that as per the FIR, there were five incidents of alleged sexual assault on the girl. In July 2020, when the first incident took place, both the girl and the boy were minors, and the relationship was consensual. Therefore, charges under the POCSO Act should not have been slapped on the accused, argued Memon. Instead, a case under the Act should have been registered against the girl because she had attained the age of majority at the time of the second incident, while the boy was still a minor, added Memon.
Hotel rooms booked using her Aadhaar card
“The victim had physical relationships with the accused at her own house and at the house of the accused as well. She had even booked hotel rooms on different occasions using her Aadhaar card and stayed overnight for long hours with the accused, which is suggestive enough of the initiative from her side,” Memon pointed out.
Justice Prabhudessai noted that since the accused was below 18 years old in July 2020, no charge-sheet could have been filed against him before a special court. “It appears that the accused as well as the victim were in a relationship with each other. The question of whether the relationship was consensual or otherwise, is a matter of trial,” said the judge while granting bail.
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