Himachal High Court denies bail to man accused of raping minor

ILNS: The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Wednesday rejected the bail application of a man, Suresh Kumar, accused of raping a 17-year-old.

The allegations against the Kumar are as follows: On December 17, 2020 the victim was waiting for the bus at a bus stand. Around noon, Suresh Kumar, who was her friend, reached the place in his pickup Jeep and offered that he would drop her at her home. The victim boarded the vehicle, but the accused took a detour on the way. When the victim asked why, Kumar said he would take a U-turn ahead and drop her at her home. However, he did not, and took the Jeep to a secluded place instead. Thereafter he started touching her inappropriately and even as the girl said “no”, he said he would rape her if she shouted.

Kumar asked the girl if she would marry him and when the girl said “no” again, the accused forcefully undressed her and had sexual intercourse with her. Thereafter, he left for Solan and the victim came home by bus. On reaching home she informed her mother about the incident. Based on these allegations, the police registered an FIR against Kumar.

Ritika Jassal, counsel for the accused, argued that the victim stated in her statement under Section 164 CrPC that she was a friend of the accused and her taking a lift in his vehicle further proved that the friendship was cordial. Resultantly, the sexual intercourse, if any, took place with active consent and without any force on her by the accused. Thus, the conduct of the victim would entitle the accused for grant of bail.

Nand Lal Thakur Additional Advocate General for the state, drew the attention of the court to the content of the petition wherein the allegations are that the police was trying to save the actual culprits.Justice Anoop Chitkara observed: “Had she consented to the coitus, then there was no reason for her to reveal it to her mother. Since she had gone to visit the doctor, she could have easily made up excuses to come home late from the doctor’s clinic, e.g. the doctor was not available, there were many patients, or that she could not find a bus, etc. The question involved here is what prompted the girl to inform about the incident to her mother. It is not the case that she reached home late in the night or that her parents questioned her or started a search looking for her. She would have kept it discreet because, as per her version, no one had noticed them. If the sexual act was with her will, she would not have told anyone about the same and tried to conceal the same.”

It was reasoned by the court that as stated by the victim in her Section 164 CrPC statement that she had said “no” for sex to the accused, and the accused told her not to shout, otherwise he would force himself upon her. In such circumstances of threat and coercion in a secluded area the victim was forced to cooperate with the accused, which explains the absence of physical injuries on her body, and the presence of semen, indicating unprotected sex.

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“Neither the absence of resistance nor the unwilling submission implies consent in any language. She explicitly said no to the accused, but he did not stop. When the curriculum does not include proper sex education, the children raised by such societies fail the women time and again. No means no – the simplest of sentences have become the most difficult for some men to understand. No does not mean yes, it does not mean that the girl is shy, it does not mean that the girl is asking a man to convince her, it does not mean that he has to keep pursuing her. The word no doesn’t need any further explanation or justification. It ends there, and the man has to stop. Be that as it may, the victim, in this case, said no to the accused when he started touching her, but he continued. It nowhere implies consent, or zeal and desire to explore and feel each other in romantic love,” said the court while dismissing the bail petition
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