Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court (HC) observed that consensual sexual acts in the past do not mean the consent is extended to the future. The court observed this while dismissing a plea of a rape accused who contended that his relationship was consensual.
The bail petitioner contended through his counsel that the complainant who lodged FIR against him is a 35-year-old divorcee, and the case had been registered with a motive of extortion out of failed love affair. He further said that both he and the complainant are majors and were in a live-in relationship. He provided photographs of the two and said that the relationship was consensual.
But the state counsel opposed the bail, stating that severe allegations of forced sexual intercourse have been levelled against the petitioner, and he has undergone custody for two months and nine days. But the prosecutrix's statement was yet to be recorded, and thus it would be too early to conclude that the relationship was consensual.
The HC bench of Justice Vivek Puri said that the law acknowledges a woman's right to have a sexual relationship. A previous consensual relationship does not give the accused rights to exploit the complainant perpetually. The photographs submitted by the petitioner cannot be prima facie concluded that the prosecutrix had been a consenting party.
Justice Puri added that though there are observations in the MLR of the prosecutrix that she was in a consensual relationship with the petitioner for a year, it also stated that she was physically assaulted and sexually abused.
The bench held that considering the nature and gravity of allegations, stage of trial and period of incarceration, regular bail cannot be granted to the petitioner.