HC grants bail to 24-yr-old man accused of sexually assaulting minor friend

 The Delhi High Court has granted bail to a 24-year-old man, accused of sexually assaulting a minor girl with whom he was in a relationship, observing there was no medical evidence to support the offence of rape.

The high court said there is no gainsaying that since the prosecutrix is a minor, her consent for the sexual act alleged to have been committed by the man is irrelevant.

However, it cannot be ignored that on both the occasions when the offence was alleged to have been committed, she had met the man and accompanied him of her own volition, without any physical threat, coercion or compulsion, and to that limited extent, she consented to being in the company of the petitioner, the court said.

“The narrative (of the girl) does not disclose the use of any violence, force or threat for the alleged sexual act. It is observed that there is also no medical evidence that supports the offence of rape,” Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani said.

The high court said the deposition of all material witnesses has already been recorded at the trial, the petitioner is a young man of 24 years and has not been implicated in any other criminal offence.

It noted the man has been in judicial custody for about two years and there is no material available to suggest he is either a flight risk or that he is likely to intimidate witnesses or tamper with evidence.

The high court said the girl was a teenager of 14-15 years and the man was just past his teens, being 22 years old, and the fact that they had an on-going relationship is discernible from the prosecutrix having met and accompanied the petitioner to a hotel.

“In fact, it is the prosecutrix’s own case that she made physical relations with the petitioner, though she says, on the false promise of marriage at least on one occasion,” it said.

The court said though it may be arguable whether both parties were at an “age of innocence”, the age-gap between the two was also not so wide that the alleged act could be termed as “vile”.

“This also does not foreclose the possibility that the two were in an innocent, though unholy, physical alliance, which deserves to be looked at with less severity,” it said.

The allegation against the man was that in two separate incidents in June 2021 and July 2021, he sexually assaulted the girl.

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The girl’s mother had initially told the police an attempt was made to assault her daughter but later retracted her statement and said no offence was committed against her.

The court said the mother’s ex-facie contradictory narration also cannot be ignored.

While granting bail, the high court directed that the man shall not contact or threaten or induce any of the prosecution witnesses and not tamper with evidence.

The petitioner shall neither contact nor interact, whether directly or indirectly, with the prosecutrix or her family in any manner and not visit the locality where the girl resides.

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