Chastity cannot be treated as property: HChttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/chastity-cannot-be-treated-as-property-hc/

Chastity cannot be treated as property: HC

The Bombay High Court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to a man accused of raping a woman after falsely promising her marriage.

The Bombay High Court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to a man accused of raping a woman after falsely promising her marriage. A vacation bench of the court also said that Section 420 (cheating) cannot be invoked against him as it pertains to property and “chastity cannot be treated as property”.

The anticipatory bail application (ABA) was filed by Girish Mhatre (27) who had refuted allegations of rape and contended that his relationship with the alleged victim was “friendly.” He stated that she was disgruntled because he had married another girl.

On April 4,she filed an FIR against Mhatre at Mumbra police station under Sections 376 (punishment for rape) and 420 (cheating). Mhatre stated in his bail plea that he had befriended the alleged victim in 2007. He contended that the alleged victim and her friend from a local women’s organisation had been persuading him to marry her. On February 11,2011,they allegedly made Mhatre sign a stamp paper stating he would marry her within a year.

However,in November last year,Mhatre had an arranged marriage with a girl chosen by his family. After the marriage,the alleged victim filed a complaint of rape against him. Justice A M Thipsay questioned invocation of section 420 and said the section pertains to dishonestly inducing a person into delivery of property. “Chastity cannot be treated as property,” the court said and added that although another court had ruled that chastity can be equated with property,this court differed in its view. “The woman could have refused to do those acts before marriage,” the court said.

Granting Mhatre anticipatory bail against a surety of Rs 25,000,Justice Thipsay observed,“The applicant and the complainant were in a relationship since 2007. The FIR dated April 4 has been filed as the applicant married some other girl. The complainant was a consensual party to the relationship. Hence,bail cannot be refused.” court said.