The Bombay high court on Monday observed that a woman is incapable of committing rape, but she can abet it.
Having said so, the court granted anticipatory bail to Ashwini Dighe, superintendent of a shelter home in Mankhurd that is under the scanner as inmates have complained of pathetic living conditions and alleged that they had been raped there, while observing that prima facie, a case of rape and trespassing has not been made against her.
The Govandi police had registered a case against Dighe and three other caretakers of the Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruha under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including rape and trespassing.
The FIR was registered based on a report submitted by a two-member expert committee appointed by the high court while hearing a suo motu petition based on the inmates’ complaints.
“Undoubtedly a woman, though incapable of committing rape, can abet rape,” justice AM Thipsay said. The bench did, however, note that there is nothing in the investigation to show abetment as the victim is on the run and further investigation and additional statements will be required to further the case.
It also observed that poor treatment or lack of sympathy is not a criminal offence and the statement of the victim recorded by the committee does not say anything about the rape.
Dighe’s lawyer had argued that she had been put in charge of the shelter home on a temporary basis and that she was in charge of a children's shelter home in Chembur earlier.
The court, while directing that the investigation to be carried on, granted interim anticipatory bail to Dighe and directed that in case of arrest she be released on bail for Rs25,000.