There cannot be a straight-jacket formula as to how a woman would react to an act of outrage by a man, but incarcerating a young person indefinitely would be an antithesis to the concept of liberty, the Bombay High Court has noted.
The remark was made by Justice Bharti Dangre on July 21 while granting bail to a 24-year-old man accused in a rape and molestation case.
The accused was arrested in December 2019 and has been in jail since then.
As per the court, the case was registered in November 2019 after a 25-year-old woman alleged that she was raped and molested by the accused on October 28, 2019 at Aamby Valley in Lonavala, a hill station around 120 km from Mumbai.
According to the woman, she was acquainted with the accused for the last eight years and that they had gone to Aamby Valley to celebrate Diwali along with some friends.
After returning from her trip, the woman told her mother about the incident, following which they approached the police station concerned in Pune and registered an FIR on November 8.
While seeking bail, the accused's advocate Abhinav Chandrachud argued that there had been an unexplained delay in registering the FIR.
The court, in its order, noted that the woman claimed to have raised an alarm to stop the accused from molesting her and it was astonishing that despite being in the same bungalow, none of her friends came to her rescue.
The reason for she not disclosing the offensive conduct of the applicant, which was so dreadful, horrific and appalling, according to her, is something incomprehensible, the court said.
The court, after perusing the material submitted by the prosecution and the charge-sheet, observed that it does not constitute a reasonable ground to believe that the applicant is guilty of the offence.
There cannot be a straight-jacket formula about how a woman would react to an act of outrage by a man, since all women are born into different circumstances in life, go through different things and face, experience and react differently, Justice Dangre observed.
"The concept of consent of the victim or as to at what stage the consent was revoked and the act of physical indulgence was attempted to be restrained is a matter of trial," the court said.
"The long-lived notion, as expressed by Warren Buffet 'If a lady says No, she means may be' are old hat tricks and the issue as to whether the girl really consented freely for a physical indulgence with her is to be searched by applying the new standards of modern life and the present social scenario," she said.
The court noted that the accused was a graduate in mechanical engineering and had no criminal antecedents. Incarceration of a young man for an indefinite period would be antithesis to the concept of liberty, the court said and granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 50,000.
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