If a woman is sexually abused, her natural reaction would be to run from the spot and approach the police, the Bombay high court said on Wednesday, while rejecting a plea filed by a 25-year-old woman, seeking permission to appeal against the acquittal of a man she claimed had raped her.
The court dismissed the appeal noting that the woman had filed a rape complaint as many as seven years after the alleged incident.
The division bench of justice Naresh Patil and justice AR Joshi also pointed out that the alleged assault had taken place in 2004, but the complaint was lodged seven years later, in 2011 – which was after the accused, Vikas Lokhande, got engaged to another woman.
The woman said that she had got acquainted Lokhande in 1999, when she was around 18 years of age.
They started seeing each other and also had a physical relationship, purportedly after Lokhande promised to marry her.
The woman alleged that on June 15, 2004, Lokhande took her to his house in Yeshwant Nagar, Goregaon, and forcibly had intercourse.
She further said that though she informed his mother about the incident, the older woman allegedly abused her.
The victim claimed that she was sexually exploited till 2009, but in March 2011, Lokhande told her that he had decided to marry someone else.
Subsequently, on April 23, 2011, the victim lodged a complaint with the Goregaon police, which booked Lokhande for rape and cheating.
On September 29, 2012, a Sessions court in Dindoshi acquitted Lokhande stating that he and victim had a consensual relationship and the evidence was not enough to hold him guilty of rape.
The victim then moved the high court seeking to challenge the acquittal.
The court, however, held that the delay in lodging a complaint, particularly since this was a long relationship, created sufficient doubt regarding the prosecution case.