Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Thursday observed that "chastity cannot be treated as property" while granting anticipatory bail to a man accused of cheating and raping a woman under the pretext of marriage.
27-year-old Girish Mhatre, employed with Central Railway, approached the high court seeking anticipatory bail after the woman lodged a complaint with the police under sections 376 (rape) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC.
"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," Justice A M Thipsay observed.
Raising a query as to why the accused was booked under section 420 of IPC, which pertains to dishonestly inducing a person into delivery of property, Justice Thipsay said, "There is a judgment of another high court which says chastity is property. But I do not agree with it. The lady could have refused to do those acts before marriage."
The court has granted Mhatre bail on a surety of Rs 25,000.
According to Mhatre, he and the complainant were in a "platonic and friendly" relationship since 2007. However, the lady and her friend from a local mahila mandal had been forcing him to marry her.
"When the applicant (Mhatre) refused, the complainant threatened to commit suicide. Her friend also threatened to break up Mhatre`s sister`s marriage. The duo forced Mhatre to sign a stamp paper dated February 11, 2011 saying he would marry the complainant within a year," the petition states.
It further states that Mhatre married a girl chosen by his family in November last year, infuriated by which the complainant approached the police.