Rape Victim’s Body Language Didn’t Reflect Trauma, She Remained Quiet For Long Time: P&H HC Grants Bail To Former MLA
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently granted bail to a former Punjab MLA Simarjit Singh Bains in a rape case holding that there was no evidence that the victim reflected any trauma through her body language or conduct.
The Court further noted that the rape victim remained quiet for a long time despite numerous opportunities.
A Single Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara held, “There is no evidence that she reflected any trauma through her body language or conduct or complained to anyone about the forcible assault. There is no allegation that she did not do so because she was under a shock. There is no evidence that the consent was obtained by misconception of facts. Thus, a reading of the allegations, more particularly the fact that Kamalpreet Singh contradicted the victim’s statement and that despite numerous opportunities, she remained quiet for a long time, would dent her credibility, and such a dent would not justify any further pre-trial incarceration.”
The Court also relied upon the case of Mahidul Sheikh v. State of Haryana CRM-33030-2021 in which the Apex Court held that the bail conditions imposed by the Court must not only have a nexus to the purpose that they seek to serve but must also be proportional to the purpose of imposing them.
Senior Advocate APS Deol appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Additional AG Prashant Manchanda appeared for the State.
In this case, the petitioner i.e., the accused was arrested in July 2022 with regard to the rape case registered against him by the police. The case was registered against six other persons as well.
The victim alleged that the petitioner taking advantage of her precarious financial conditions, which had worsened due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and further became unmanageable due to default in payment of bank installments, made her sleep with him on numerous occasions. She further submitted before the Court that such consent was nothing but a passive one for which she had no other option given her financial turmoil and loss of her husband.
The High Court after hearing both the parties directed, “Given the nature of the allegations and the other circumstances peculiar to this case, the petitioner shall surrender all weapons, firearms, ammunition, if any, along with the arms license to the concerned authority within fifteen days from release from prison and inform the Investigator about the compliance. However, subject to the Indian Arms Act, 1959, the petitioner shall be entitled to renew and take it back in case of acquittal in this case, provided otherwise permissible in the concerned rules.”
The Court granted bail to the accused on furnishing a personal bond amounting to Rs. 10,000/-.
“The petitioner shall not influence, browbeat, pressurize, make any inducement, threat, or promise, directly or indirectly, to the witnesses, the Police officials, or any other person acquainted with the facts and the circumstances of the case, to dissuade them from disclosing such facts to the Police, or the Court, or to tamper with the evidence”, the Court observed.
It was further asserted by the Court that till the completion of the trial, the petitioner shall not contact, call, text, message, remark, stare, stalk, make any gestures or express any unusual or inappropriate, verbal or otherwise objectionable behaviour towards the victim and victim's family, either physically, or through phone call or any other social media, through any other mode, nor shall unnecessarily roam around the victim's home.
“During the trial's pendency, if the petitioner repeats or commits any offence where the sentence prescribed is more than seven years or violates any condition as stipulated in this order, it shall always be permissible to the respondent to apply for cancellation of this bail. It shall further be open for any investigating agency to bring it to the notice of the Court seized of the subsequent application that the accused was earlier cautioned not to indulge in criminal activities”, the Court said.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the petition and granted bail to the accused.
Cause Title- Simarjit Singh Bains v. State of Punjab