High court of Bombay grants relief to Army man accused of rape on promise to marry:

High court of Bombay grants relief to Army man accused of rape on promise to marry:

The Bombay High Court granted anticipatory bail to an Army Major charged with rape by a woman who met him on a matrimony website.

The complainant-woman, aged 28, had connected with the accused after she registered with a matrimonial website. The army major and the woman began communicating after which he is stated to have visited Mumbai specifically for the purpose of meeting the woman. The woman alleges that he forced a physical relationship on the promise that they will get married later that year and that he also committed ‘unnatural’ sexual offences at the time.

The woman noticed that the major and his family were unwilling to continue with the proposed wedding. This prompted her to file her complaint about rape and cheating. The Court noted that the complaint was filed two years after the incident.

The police investigation found that the man had used multiple identities to communicate and carry on relationships with various women. The police had recovered fourteen mobile SIM numbers from the man, the Court was told. They submitted, however, that his custodial interrogation was not necessary for the investigation.

During the bail hearings, the counsel for the accused major submitted that he had cooperated with the investigation from its initiation. He added that since he occupies a responsible position in the Army, it would ensure his continued cooperation. The counsel for the bail applicant sought permission to return to the Army so he can resume his duties. The Court granted his request.

On the basis of his cooperation with the investigation so far and since the messages exchanged between the complainant and the accused major revealed their initial mutual intentions of getting married at the time of the alleged rape, the Court allowed him the interim relief of anticipatory bail.

The Court also found that the delay in filing the complaint also raised doubts about the veracity of the complaint, which the Judge remarked would have to be thoroughly investigated.

Justice Bharati Dangre granted the relief after observing that, the complaint read with the conversation on the Whatsapp chat which has been placed on record does reveal that at a point of time, the applicant and complainant were desirous of getting married and both of them invested in the relationship, however, for the reasons very personal to them, they drifted apart. The complainant and the applicant both being major are entitled to take decisions in their life.

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