The Bombay high court has granted anticipatory bail to a 63-year-old rape accused citing the First Information Report (FIR) registered against him about two years after the alleged sexual assault.
Justice Bharati Dangre, while granting bail to the accused on Wednesday, said the FIR only “vaguely” refers to the incident that allegedly took place “in the month of May or June 2018, without any specific date or time”.
The 63-year-old was booked in Maharashtra’s Rajgad on August 27 under the Indian Penal Code’s sections 376 (rape) and 354 (outraging modesty of a woman), and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act on the basis of a woman’s complaint.
In her complaint, the woman alleged the man allegedly forced himself on her on the promise of providing her work that she was looking for to support herself and her daughter after separating from her husband. She alleged the man also misbehaved with her 14-year-old niece.
The man moved the high court for anticipatory bail , saying he was falsely implicated at the behest of a trustee who had been expelled for fraud from a school where he worked as a manager.
The court found substance in his claim. The allegations under the POCSO Act in respect to the alleged misbehaviour with the 14-year-old also lack in detail and was reported after two-and-a-half years, said the court.
Experts say it is not uncommon that victims of sexual assault don’t immediately file complaints with the police; it could be due to trauma or even the social stigma around filing a case that could hold them back from approaching the police.
The court further said the accused’s custodial interrogation was not necessary as he is a “responsible person and is working with a public charitable trust as a manager. He has roots in society and his chances of fleeing the course of justice are minimal”.