Bombay HC grants bail to rape accused, says he will have to marry victim within one year

Bombay High Court has granted bail to a 26-year-old man arrested in a rape case, but set a condition that he would have to marry the victim, who is currently untraceable, if she is found within a year.

The man, however, would not be bound by this condition beyond one year, a single bench of Justice Bharati Dangre said in the order passed on October 12.

The court said the accused and the 22-year-old woman were in a consensual relationship, but a rape and cheating case was registered when the man started avoiding her after learning that she was pregnant.

The woman lodged a complaint with the Mumbai Police against the man in February 2020 after which he was arrested.

In her complaint, the woman claimed they were in a relationship since 2018 and that their families were aware of the same and had not objected to it.

In 2019, the woman realised she was pregnant and informed the accused, but he started avoiding her. The woman left her house as she did not want to reveal about the pregnancy to her family members. On January 27, 2020, she delivered a baby in a city hospital.

On January 30, the woman abandoned the baby in front of a building. A separate FIR was then lodged against her for abandoning the child.

Justice Dangre in her order said this “may be a possible reason why she is fleeing from the course of justice”.

The accused assured the HC that he was willing to marry the woman and accept paternity of the child.

However, the police informed the court that the woman was not traceable and the baby, who was admitted to a child care centre, has already been given in adoption.

“In such circumstances when the incident was reported, the victim was major and she has already stated that the relationship was consensual,” the HC said.

“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 solemnise marriage with her, but he shall not be bound by the statement beyond one year,” the order said. The court granted bail to the man on a bond of Rs 25,000.