While granting anticipatory bail to a Central Railway employee who has been accused of cheating and raping a woman after promising her marriage, the Bombay high court has observe that “chastity cannot be treated as property”.
The court was hearing an application filed by Girish Mhatre, 27, who was seeking anticipatory bail after the woman lodged a complaint with the police under sections 376 (rape) and 420 (cheating) of IPC.
Justice AM Thipsay noted that the accused and the complainant were in a relationship since 2007. The petitioner stated that the complainant and her friend from a local mahila mandal (woman’s group) had been forcing him to marry her.
“When the applicant (Mhatre) refused, the complainant threatened to commit suicide. Her friend also threatened to break up Mhatre’s sister’s marriage,” his petition said.
He alleged that the duo forced him to sign a stamp paper dated February 11, 2011, saying he would marry the complainant within a year. The complainant lodged a FIR on April 4 after the accused married some other girl chosen by his family.
The court observed that the woman was a consensual party to the relationship and hence bail cannot be refused. The court also wanted to know as to why the accused was booked under section 420 of IPC, which pertains to dishonestly inducing a person into delivery of property.
Justice Thipsay observed that although there was a judgment of another high court which said ‘chastity is property’, he did not agree with it. According to the judge, the complainant could have refused to do those acts before marriage.
The court has granted Mhatre bail on a surety of Rs25,000.