Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: The Single Judge Bench of Yogesh Khanna, J., ordered the release of a 27-year-old accused of rape on bail, as the prosecutrix has already been examined as per the requirements of Section 164, CrPC, thus there is no apprehension that the petitioner may influence the prosecutrix. The Court also pointed out that the arguments raised by the petitioner vis-a-vis delay in lodging of FIR; discrepancy in the place of incident and photographs taken thereafter and a legal notice regarding refund of ‘roka‘ expenses without there being an iota of rape allegation- such facts do make out a case for bail.

Facts of the Case: The petitioner is a businessman running a restaurant and beverage business. The petitioner and the prosecutrix met through mediators and their marriage was later fixed through the roka ceremony on 14-02-2021. At the petitioner’s birthday party, the two allegedly got intimate. It was also alleged that the prosecutrix entered into such intimacy, in order to save their relationship. The prosecutrix alleged that the petitioner demanded dowry from her. Thus, an FIR was registered alleging rape on the false pretext of marriage and demand for dowry under Sections 376/354-A/406/506/34 of IPC read with Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, at Paschim Vihar West, Delhi Police Station.

It is also pertinent to mention that after the prosecutrix’s mother also issued a legal notice to the petitioner on 07-09-2021, seeking refund of the expenses incurred during the roka ceremony.

The petitioner’s bail application was already denied by the Tis Hazari Court; therefore, the High Court was approached to with the instant application.

Contentions: The State vehemently opposed the bail application on the grounds that once out, the petitioner may seek to influence the prosecutrix.

Per contra, the counsels for the petitioner argued that the petitioner is a law-abiding citizen with no criminal antecedents and the allegations of rape on the false pretext of marriage are an afterthought in as much the IO has not collected any exculpatory evidence for the same. The petitioner also contends that the legal notice to refund the expenses of roka ceremony also does not mention any allegations as to rape.

Observations: Though the Court did not give any opinion on the merits of the case, it took into consideration the facts related to the delay in lodging of FIR etc. The Court also pointed out that the prosecutrix has already recorded her deposition as per the requirements of CrPC. Hence, the Court ordered that the accused who was in custody since 27-11-2021, be released on bail during the pendency of the trial, upon execution of a personal bond of Rs. 1 Lac with surety. The petitioner was directed to not contact or threaten the prosecutrix in any way, which shall become grounds for cancellation of bail.

[Manmeet Singh v. State (N.C.T. of Delhi), 2022 SCC OnLine Del 2052, decided on 12-07-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Sanjay Vashistha, Shakir Khan, Rahul Kumar, Advocates, for the Petitioner;

Mukesh Kumar, APP for State and L.S. Saini, Advocate, for the Respondents.

*Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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