Supreme Court reserves order in plea against bail granted to law student in rape case

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order in a plea filed by a 22-year-old woman against the bail granted to a law student accused of raping her repeatedly on the false promise of marriage and forcing her to abort a child. The plea contented that the accused is a student leader belonging to a highly influential family and has criminal antecedents. 

A bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana was informed by Senior Counsel Siddharth Luthra alleged posters were related to a event “Maa Narmada Janmostav” which were put by the friends of the accused and he had nothing to do with it. “There is no linkage with me at all. All of this on social media, not by me,” said Luthra. 

Justice Hima Kohli posed a query, "In the posters, it’s written, “Welcome to role Janeman” are you part of that picture?" 

Luthra replied, "Yes, I am number three. I am the person in middle. Somebody posted this on social media, this is not me, I have not posted."

Bhaiya is Back

CJI asked, "Why you have posted this lady's picture?" 

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Luthra replied, "She is a model milord and she used this sindoor as a part of modelling. I haven’t put on any sindoor."

CJI: "For how many days were you inside?"

Luthra: "I was in for 60 days. See what is the case about, it’s a consensual relationship, and break-up."

CJI again posed a query by looking at pictures, "Is this a picture of complainant? Is that your picture..I don’t know what you want to make out." 

Luthra replied, "The story of sindoor is that she is a model and doing modelling. Story of pregnancy is wrong and incorrect."

Complainant interjected and said this statement is not correct.

At this juncture, bench sought to know the stand of State Counsel.

State counsel replied, "I am supporting the petitioner case. Six pending cases against him (accused). Five cases against accused and one against his father. "

CJI asked, "Under which sections?" 

State counsel replied, "He is a leader and cases were registered against him mainly under Sections, 143, 188, 294, 323, 324, 452, 506 and 507." 

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CJI asked, "What is your reply Mr Luthra?" 

Luthra submitted that he is currently studying law and in fifth year. 

Complainant counsel submitted, "I need to clarify the records." 

CJI in a lighter tone, "He is a student leader, someone put all these types of picture." 

Complainant counsel said, "He is music addict. And if court look at the pictures then it could be seen what kind of music he is listening too. Song name “Baap Ka Maal” write below his name." 

CJI asked: "What do you want to show?" 

Complainant counsel replied, "The attitude of the accused person milord, nothing else. How can that not be a violation of conditions of bail. The hoardings have been put intentionally, between the work place of petitioner and this is nothing but a threat and intimidation." 

CJI said, "Okay, order reserved."

On April 18, 2022, the Court took serious view on a non-compliance of its previous orders and asked Senior Counsel to file reply within two days. 

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On April 11, 2022, the Court had issued notice to the accused and the State counsel to file their response while objecting to the various pictures and hoardings put by accused after he was released on bail. Justice Hima Kohli pointed out from the petition, asked the accused counsel, “What is your response to page 161-163, what are you celebrating. (Bhaiya is Back)? There are hoardings saying (Bhaiya is Back)?” CJI Ramana had said the Court will cancel his bail right now if he doesn’t answer. “Is he Bhaiya, what is meant by Bhaiya is Back? I am asking you what is Bhaiya is Back?” Then Court has granted one week Time to accused to file his reply. 

Bhaiya is Back

The high court, while granting bail, had said, “Prima facie it is axiomatic that there is a delay in lodging of the FIR, for which, no reasonable explanation has been given either by the prosecution or by the complainant.”

The petitioner’s counsel contented that the accused Shubhang Gontia be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond for a sum of Rs 1,00,000 with a solvent surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the trial court for securing his presence before the said Court on all the dates of hearing fixed in this regard during trial and for complying with the conditions enumerated in sub-section (3) of Section 437 of CrPC. Before the high court, the accused had filed a application under Section 439 of CrPC for grant of bail arrested on 29.09.2021 in connection with Crime No. 39/21 registered at Police Station Mahila Thana, Jabalpur (MP) for the offence punishable under Sections 376 (2) (n) and 506 of IPC.

The allegation against him is that he repeatedly committed sexual intercourse with the prosecutrix on various occasions over a period of three years under the garb of false promise to marry with her.  

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He had submitted that the,

“Relationship between the applicant and the complainant was consensual and both the parties mutually agreed for indulging in physical intimacy. The prosecutrix is a major and mature girl having knowledge of all consequences. Further submitted that the prosecutrix and her father want to extort money from the applicant and his family under the guise of the instant case. The applicant did not make any promise with the prosecutrix to perform marriage with her. Apart from it, there is delay of more than six months in lodging the FIR, for which, no justifiable explanation has been given by the prosecution. There is umpteen material to show blotless record of the applicant.”

The Special Leave Petition has been filed by Advocate-On-Record Vaibhav Manu Srivastava and Advocate Shikha Khurana.

Case Name- P Vs The State of Madhya Pradesh.