While denying anticipatory bail to a man accused of raping a woman on the “false pretext of marriage”, the Delhi High Court observed Monday that courts cannot be used as “forum for the purpose of facilitating marriages and as marriage facilitators” to force an accused to get married to the victim or denied bail.
A single judge bench of Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma observed, “Both the man and the complainant (woman) have taken the judicial system and the investigating agencies for a ride and are trying to manipulate the judicial system to their advantage in different ways, one for seeking anticipatory bail though now, non-bailable warrants have already been issued against him since he was absconding and the complainant for getting married to him”.
Justice Sharma observed, on one hand, the accused while arguing his earlier bail pleas before the trial court and the HC submitted he had “no concern with the allegations in the FIR which are false and frivolous”. Justice Sharma said the accused had contended previously that he and the complainant were “merely friends” and he had never established a physical relationship with the woman on the pretext of marriage.
On the other hand, Justice Sharma observed, the accused had said before the trial court on August 22 and before the High Court on August 29 that “earlier the marriage could not take place due to some difficulties, however, now the petitioner/accused and complainant are ready to marry each other”.
“These statements, made before the learned ASJ as well as this Court, are contrary to each other and clearly point out towards using the Court for their own purposes,” the HC said.
“Considering the overall facts and circumstances of the case, this Court does not find it a fit case for grant of anticipatory bail as the case has travelled from the point of lodging of the FIR till the present point of investigation. The truth has to prevail by investigating into allegations for which custodial interrogation of the accused may be required for the purpose of confronting the complainant also with the accused to reach the truth,” Justice Sharma said while dismissing the man’s anticipatory bail plea.
With respect to the woman, the HC observed she had said in her Section 164 CrPC statement to the magistrate that the man established sexual relations on the false pretext of marriage. Subsequently, on August 22 the woman appeared before the trial court and said she “wanted the accused to be released on bail since now both of them want to get married”.
“Once this argument did not find favour with the learned ASJ, the accused has approached this Court with a similar plea and the complainant has appeared before this Court too and has stated that now she no longer wishes to oppose the bail application and stated that the accused be granted anticipatory bail,” the HC said.
The court added, “The courts cannot be used as matrimonial facilitators for the purpose of pressurising the accused to get married to the victim or be denied bail, or by the accused for obtaining bail by asking the complainant to appear before the Court and state that he was ready to get married to her”.
The woman had said in her complaint that she had rejected the advances of the man whom she met at work but after he insisted she had agreed to become his friend. She also said that they had started talking to each other regularly after about four to five years through phone and video calls.
She alleged in February 2021 the man took her to a hotel where they established a physical relationship on the pretext of marriage. She said the man took her to a temple in Najafgarh where he had given the impression that they were married, and he had again promised her they would get married according to rituals later. On this pretext, he had established physical relations with her on several occasions, but later stopped receiving her phone calls and refused to get married to her, the woman alleged.
The High Court noted that until August 2 and on August 10 when the man’s previous bail pleas were heard before the HC the same were withdrawn.
The court said at that time “there was nothing to suggest that the accused and the complainant were contemplating getting married or that the accused had admitted to having a consensual relationship with the victim”. But there had been a “significant shift” when the man’s anticipatory bail plea before the trial court came up for hearing on August 22.