The Delhi High Court has dismissed the bail plea of a ‘spiritual guru’ who was accused of raping a Czech woman who was being helped by him in the post-demise rituals of her deceased husband.

A Single Bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani said, “… this court is not persuaded to admit the petitioner to regular bail, at this stage. Accordingly, the bail petition is dismissed; however granting to the petitioner liberty to apply afresh for the same relief before the learned trial court, once the deposition of all prosecution witnesses is complete.”

The Bench noted that merely because the prosecutrix agreed to accompany the accused to various holy places for purposes of conducting last rites and rituals, it does not ipso-facto imply that she consented to sexual relations with him.

Advocate Krishan Kumar appeared on behalf of the petitioner/accused while APP Tarang Srivastava appeared on behalf of the respondents.

In this case, by way of a petition filed under Section 439 read with Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 the petitioner sought grant of regular bail in an FIR registered under Sections 354 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The accused contended that the prosecutrix had travelled freely with him to several places and all the physical relations between both were consensual in nature.

The High Court in the above regard observed, “Though it is true that the travel to the aforementioned places happened over a period of almost 04 months, and it is nowhere specifically alleged that the petitioner held the prosecutrix ‘hostage’ or that she was made to travel with him by use of physical force or restraint, in the opinion of this court, that alone would not be determinative of the state of the prosecutrix’s mind, for the court to be able to say at this stage that the alleged sexual liaisons were consensual.”

The Court further asserted that a distinction needs to be articulated between a prosecutrix ‘consenting to a situation’ vs. ‘consenting to sexual liaison’.

“Merely because a prosecutrix consents to being in the company of a man, regardless of for how long, can never be the basis to infer that she had also consented to sexual liaison with the man”, said the Court.

The Court also said that it is not re-assured that the petitioner would not interfere in the course of justice by practicing the same guile and deception.

“… an aspect of particular concern is that the allegations disclose deception and guile on the part of the petitioner, in pretending to be a „holy man‟ guiding a foreign national with pious post-demise ceremonies of her husband. In fact it appears to be the petitioner‟s own stand, that he took the prosecutrix to Prayagraj, Banaras and Gaya for the post-demise ceremonies. … Whether the prosecutrix and her prime-witness are in India or abroad, the petitioner‟s attempt to intimidate or influence them, cannot be ruled-out”, the Court observed.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the bail plea.

Cause Title- Sanjay Malik @ Sant Sevak Das v. The State & Anr. (Neutral Citation: 2023/DHC/001817)

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