The Bombay High Court has granted anticipatory bail to a man accused of stalking and holding a girl's hand.

The bench of Justice Bharati Dangre noted that there is no sexual intent indicated from the statement of the victim girl.

“Assuming for a moment that he has expressed his liking for her, since there is no sexual intent indicated from the statement of the victim girl. Prima-facie the applicant deserve protection from arrest, as for no purpose his custody is required.”, the Court held.

The complaint was lodged by the father of the victim girl aged 17 years, against an auto driver who reside in the nearby vicinity and is acquainted with the victim girl.

It is the allegation in the complaint that the accused used to follow her despite strong protest and that he persuaded her to ride on his motorcycle, when she refused, he caught hold her hand and express that he has a liking for her and he would drop her home, but she resisted the attempt and rushed away from the spot.

Advocate R. J. Shinde appeared for the applicant whereas APP V. A. Thakre appeared for the State and Samir Das, Advocate, appeared for the victim.

The Court observed that “From the accusation that are levelled, it can be seen that prima facie there is no case of any sexual harassment as it is not the case of the prosecution that the applicant hold her hand with any sexual intent.”

The Court also noted that the charge-sheet has been filed on completion of the investigation. Thus the Court observed that the accused can be granted pre-arrest bail.

However, the Court warned the accused-applicant that he shall not indulge in similar incident and if he does so, the protection conferred on him shall stand withdrawn.

The Court also imposed the condition while granting pre-arrest bail that the applicant shall no way establish any contact with the victim girl either on telephone or any actual contact and if any such attempt or incident is reported to the Police Station, prosecution may apply for cancellation of protection conferred on him.

Cause Title- Dhanraj Babusing Rathod v. State of Maharashtra and another

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