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SC rejects plea against HC order granting anticipatory bail to journalist in rape case

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea challenging the Delhi High Court order granting anticipatory bail to a Mumbai-based journalist in a rape case lodged against him by a 22-year-old woman.

We find no reason to interfere. The special leave petition is dismissed, said a vacation bench of Justices Navin Sinha and Ajay Rastogi while rejecting the plea filed by the complainant.

The high court had on May 13 granted anticipatory bail to journalist Varun Hiremath in the case.

The complainant has alleged that she was raped by the accused at a five-star hotel in Chanakyapuri on February 20.

Hiremath had approached the high court after his anticipatory bail plea was dismissed by a trial court here on March 12.

On the basis of the woman’s complaint, an FIR under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 376 (punishment for rape), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) was registered at the Chanakyapuri Police Station here.

Senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing for the petitioner, argued in the apex court that accused had earlier absconded for 50 days and he also evaded the non-bailable warrant.

In her plea filed in the top court, the petitioner has alleged that the accused has not faced custodial interrogation even for a day in the case despite not co-operating in the police investigation.

By a minute, critical and erroneous assessment of the section 164 statement of the complainant-petitioner, and a summary evaluation of the nature of consent’ at a stage where the accused has not even faced a day’s custodial interrogation, the high court has erroneously granted anticipatory bail in such heinous offences as rape and assault, said the plea, drawn by advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai.

Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) deals with recording of confession and statement before a magistrate.

The petitioner said that after the high court had on April 9 granted him interim protection from arrest, the accused had appeared before the investigating authority.

It claimed that the FIR and section 164 CrPC statement of the complainant both categorically record that the petitioner pushed him away multiple times and that she also vehemently said no .

The counsel for the accused had earlier claimed before the trial court that there was a history of sexual relationship between the complainant and the journalist.

The accused’s counsel had also highlighted WhatsApp and Instagram chats between the complainant and the accused before the trial court “in order to show the love and passion between them”.

The trial court, while rejecting his anticipatory bail plea, had said that consent cannot be implied from the complainant’s previous experiences with the accused and if the woman stated in her evidence before the court that she did not consent, the court shall presume that she did not.

Source : PTI

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