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Bombay HC grants bail to rape accused on terms he should marry victim within a year

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The Bombay High Court has granted bail to a 26-year-old man accused of rape on the condition that he should marry the victim. 

A single-judge bench of Justice Bharati Dangre said that if the victim is found, then he will have to marry her within a year. 

The Investigating Officer has filed the affidavit in the High Court, wherein he has narrated the steps taken by him to trace the victim on whose complaint was registered. The Investigating Officer states on oath that he tried to establish contact with the victim on her mobile number but it is temporarily out of service. He also visited the address of the victim as given in the FIR, to be revealed that she is not residing at the said address. He made a categorical statement that all efforts are being taken to trace the victim.   

According to the complaint filed by the 22-year-old prosecutrix, she knew the applicant since 2018 as he was residing in the neighbourhood. The proximity between the two soon became love. They decided to get married and even their families were aware of such a relationship, to which there was no opposition. According to the prosecutrix, he established a physical relationship with her and she trusted him as he had assured that he would solemnize marriage.

In October 2019, the prosecutrix found that she was carrying a pregnancy of 6 months. She disclosed this fact to the accused but somehow he avoided establishing contact with her and there was a refusal to perform the marriage. She left the residential premises since she wanted to keep her pregnancy secret and delivered a child on 27/01/2020. On 30/1/2020, she was discharged from the hospital and according to her she dropped the child in a premises which was compounded and which had a big gate, where she abandoned the child and kept a watch, when the watchman took the child inside, she left the premises.   

The Bench noted that for the said act of abandoning the child, a complaint  is registered with LT Marg Police Station and charge-sheet has been filed against the victim. That may be a possible reason why she is fleeing.

The accused has filed his affidavit, where he has made a solemn statement that he is ready to marry the victim (prosecutrix)  and also ready to accept the paternity of the child born out of the relationship. 

“In such circumstances when the incident was reported, the victim was major and she has already stated that the relationship was consensual and though a specific statement was made on behalf of the applicant and his family that they are ready to solemnize the marriage, the victim is not traceable, in above circumstances, I deem it appropriate to release the applicant on bail subject to compliance that if the victim 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,” the order reads.

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