Woman was wilful participant in physical relationship for 4 years: Allahabad High Court grants bail to accused charged under anti-conversion law

 

"All of a sudden, after coming this Ordinance into existence, she got aware about her rights. Her mental thinking exposes about her conduct," the Court remarked.

The Allahabad High Court has granted bail to a man who was charged under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 for allegedly raping a woman and compelling her to change her religion (Munna Khan v. State of UP).

A Single Judge Bench of Justice Rahul Chaturvedi noted that till date, the victim has not been converted to another religion, and therefore, the presumption of Section 12 of the Ordinance would not apply. The order states,

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"It is but obvious that the applicant and the victim were in relationship from last four years when there was no ordinance and also there was no objection or resistance from the side of the victim. All of a sudden, after coming this Ordinance into existence, she got aware about her rights. Her mental thinking exposes about her conduct. She was a willful and active participant in all actions faced by her during last four years..."

The accused and the victim used to reside in same mohalla in Mahoba district and were in a physical relationship with each other since the last four years.

The victim alleged that the applicant took obscene still photographs and videos of her and used them as tools to blackmail her into maintaining the physical relations.

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Further, it was brought on record that on December 8 last year, she got married to another person and went to Delhi. On the day she came back home, she was in the company of the accused at Orai, where he would allegedly ravish her and compel her to change her religion.

The Court noted that the victim is aged about 19 years and has not received any formal education.

"She resides in the same locality where the applicant resides. In such circumstances, it is unswallowable proposition that in a small city, like Mahoba, she was not aware about the background of applicant or about his religion that too for four good years," the Court added.

It was further noted that there is no recovery of any obscene still photographs or video said to have been used for blackmailing the victim. The Court also took into account the fact that the victim herself admitted that she was in a relationship with the accused for the last four years, and that even after her marriage, she came to Mahoba from Delhi, and thereafter went with the accused to Orai, where she alleged that she was pressurized into changing her religion.


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Opining that the victim became aware of her rights only after the Ordinance came into being, the Court concluded,

"Cumulative effect of all above factors clearly indicative that the victim was dire interested to remain in the company of applicant, and even after her marriage she wanted to maintain the relationship with him."

After taking into consideration the material on record and the submissions made by the counsel, the Court granted bail to the accused based on certain conditions.


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