The Himachal Pradesh High Court has ruled that a woman was not expected to throw herself to a man and that it was primarily her responsibility to protect her own dignity and modesty in a relationship.
Passing the orders on a bail plea of one Baldev Raj, a married man accused of rape by a woman, Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan said both accused and victim were not strangers and the documents suggest that they were more than “just friends”.
The woman, a widow and a mother, has submitted that the accused had forced her into a physical relationship on the pretext of marriage for more than a year and a half.
The record reveals the case to be a classical example of a relationship having gone sour, the court said.
Allowing the bail plea, Justice Chauhan said: “Once the prosecutrix knew that the petitioner is a married man, it was for her to restrain herself and not indulge in intimate activities.”
The court said: “No doubt, it is the responsibility, moral and ethical both, on the part of a man not to exploit any woman by compelling or inducing her for sexual relationship. But then it is ultimately the woman herself who is the protector of her own body. Therefore, her prime responsibility is to ensure that in a relationship, her own dignity and modesty is protected. A woman is not expected to throw herself to a man and indulge in promiscuity, thereby becoming a source of hilarity. It is for her to maintain her purity, chastity and virtues.”
Quoting some of the landmark rulings of the Supreme Court to allow the bail plea, the judge said the seriousness of the allegations or the availability of the material in support thereof was not only the considerations for declining the bail. In the present case, the accused was known to the woman and had shared the relationship for quite sometime; once it turned sour, the charges of rape were filed, the judge added.
“On the basis of records, it cannot be said that the petitioner would in any manner interfere with the trial of the case and it is not even the allegation of the prosecution that petitioner would flee from justice,” the judge said. In such eventuality, it is otherwise open to the prosecution to approach this court for cancellation of bail.
The court also imposed conditions on the accused, asking him to make himself available for the purpose of interrogation.