The Supreme Court has granted anticipatory bail to a man accused of engaging in physical relations with a woman on the false pretext of marrying her.

A Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice M M Sundresh perused the assertions made by the informant in the First Information Report.

"On consideration, we are inclined to grant the appellant the benefit of anticipatory bail with the direction that in the event of the appellant being arrested, he shall be released on bail by the arresting officer on terms and conditions to be fixed by the trial court", the Court held.

"In addition, the appellant shall comply with the mandate of Section 438(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973," the Bench said.

The Court also clarified that the grant of anticipatory bail to the appellant would not be treated as expression of opinion on the merits of the case.

The case pending before the Rajasthan High Court bench in Jaipur will be decided on merits and in accordance with law, without being influenced by this order, it said.

Appearing for the accused, Advocate Namit Saxena argued that sexual intercourse by a couple in a long romantic relationship will not amount to rape if the male partner chooses to exit after courtship. Advocate Saurav Roy appeared for the Respondent

The Court was hearing an appeal filed by Mukesh Kumar Singh, working on the post of Technician Grade 1 in Jaipur, against the order passed by the Rajasthan High Court which dismissed his anticipatory bail plea.

According to the appeal, Singh met the woman for the first time about 10 years ago when they came in contact with each other on account of work. In due course, Singh and the complainant remained in touch through messages and calls and also used to meet regularly, the appeal said.

On August 6, 2021, Singh's marriage was fixed by his parents. When the complainant came to know about this, she allegedly started blackmailing, asking him to marry her and warned that she would lodge a rape case against him, the appeal said.

Later, the complainant lodged a case against Singh in October in Jaipur, it said. "The FIR is based on flimsy grounds alleging rape committed upon the complainant after 10 years of relationship with the petitioner", the plea said.

"The FIR has admitted the said fact of romantic affair and has been filled with the sole intention to harass the petitioner as he chose to not marry the complainant," the appeal said.

Cause Title: Mukesh Kumar Singh v. The State of Rajasthan & Anr.

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With PTI inputs