The Delhi High Court in its recent order has observed that the arrest of a person based on mere allegations has the potential to destroy his reputation and thus it is necessary to apply great care while dealing with arrest at a pre-conviction stage.
Justice Subramonium Prasad observed so while granting anticipatory bail to accused Radhe Shyam in an FIR filed by a woman working in the HR department of his company alleging that he induced and pressurize her and other female employees to have physical relations with him.
The complainant woman had alleged that she had joined the company in June last year, and that the petitioner allured her to meet him at a hotel and had forceful sexual intercourse with her in November 2020.
It was also her case that the petitioner had forcefully raped her and that she was coaxed to meet him at a hotel room again to which she denied. She further stated that she was fired from her job without any reasons.
However, after rejoining her job, she stated that she was promoted and her salary was also raised. In the FIR, the complainant also stated that she had come to know about other employees who were also allegedly harassed by the petitioner.
Arguments by Petitioner
Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur appearing for the petitioner submitted that Shyam and the complainant were in an employer-employee relationship which later on developed into a consensual physical relationship.
He also submitted that the complainant ought to have lodged an FIR within the shortest time possible and not filed the FIR virtually 6 months after the first incident of rape was committed.
Submission by Complainant
On the other hand, the prosecution submitted that during investigation it was found that the Petitioner had behaved in a similar manner with other lady employees of his company where he would entice them to establish physical relations in exchange of which he would hike the salaries and give promotions.
The Petitioner’s anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the Trial Court in July this year. The Trial Court had relied upon the two conversations presented by the I.O. wherein the Petitioner had purportedly approached other lady employees of his company for sexual favours.
Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court observed that the question as to whether or not the sexual intercourse which took place between Shyam and the complainant was consensual in nature or not is to be dealt with at the trial. At the outset, the court said,
this Court finds it pertinent to note that consequent arrest of an individual on the basis of mere allegations has the potential to destroy the reputation of the said individual. Therefore, it is necessary to apply great care and circumspection while dealing with arrest at a pre-conviction stage.
Reliance was placed on Siddharam Satlingappa Mhetre v. State of Maharashtra, where the Top Court had held that the gravity of charge and the exact role of the accused must be properly comprehended and before arrest, the arresting officer must record the valid reasons which have led to the arrest of the accused in the case diary.
Analysing the facts of the case, the Court was of the view that for grant of anticipatory bail, it has to be seen whether the Petitioner was in the position of tampering with evidence or influencing the witnesses. The court observed,
In the instant case, the Trial Court vide order dated 01.07.2021 had dismissed the anticipatory bail application of the petitioner herein on the ground that the petitioner was in a position of authority and he could exert dominance over the complainant as well as over other employees who were witnesses in this matter.
However, it is to be noted that two witnesses who were the employees, have now left the company and, therefore, it can safely be said that the petitioner is no longer in a position to influence them.
The Court also observed that mere apprehension of tampering with evidence or influencing the witnesses cannot be a ground for rejecting an application for anticipatory bail.
Accordingly, the anticipatory bail was granted to the petitioner.
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