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Man accused of raping woman he met on Tinder granted bail, Delhi HC takes her social media posts into consideration – The Indian Express

The Delhi High Court recently granted bail to a man convicted by a trial court for raping a woman he met on Tinder, an online dating application.
A single judge bench of Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta was hearing an application moved by the man seeking “suspension of sentence and release” on bail during the pendency of an appeal moved by the man before the high court.
The appellant had challenged the judgment and sentence order of the trial court holding him guilty for offence under Section 376(2)(n) (punishment for committing rape repeatedly on the same woman) of the Indian Penal Code and sentencing him to undergo rigorous imprisonment of 10 years along with fine of Rs 6 lakh. The trial court had acquitted the appellant for offence under Section 313 (Causing miscarriage without woman’s consent) of the IPC.
The high court in its October 12 order had reiterated that at the stage of suspension of sentence and release on bail till disposal of appeal, the appellate court has to examine if there is any “patent infirmity in the order of conviction that renders the conviction prima facie erroneous”. The high court also observed that “evidence is not to be re-assessed or re-analyzed to suspend the execution of the sentence and detailed observations on merits of the case are not called for at this stage”.
The appellant argued that the trial court had erred in concluding that appellant obtained the prosecutrix’s consent for sexual intercourse on a false promise of marriage. He further argued that the judgment of the trial court was patently illegal as there were “glaring lacunas” in the prosecution’s evidence. He contended that the woman had herself written blogs posted on social media stating that she did not believe in the institution of marriage and the same was unrebutted.
The appellant argued that he had met the woman on Tinder, “which is known for casual dating”.  The appellant said that as the woman herself did not believe in the idea of marriage, it was improbable by her conduct and circumstances on record that she was misled on alleged promise of marriage. The appellant additionally argued that the woman knew about the appellant’s children, relying on his wife’s testimony in this regard. He further said that his father is old and requires dialysis on a daily basis and his two daughters are dependent upon him for their “education and life”, hence bail be granted.
The prosecution on the other hand contended that the woman was unaware of the appellant’s marital status and that her social media posts/blogs could not be relied on as the “thought process could be changing and the same does not preclude from believing that the prosecutrix was duped by false promise”.
After considering the arguments made by both parties, the high court held that social media blogs/posts of the woman appear to reflect that she had reservations about the institution of marriage and supported the idea of live-in relationship. “The aforesaid observations need to be kept in perspective since the blogs had been made prior to the alleged reporting of the incident,” the court noted.
The high court further held that the sexual encounter between the appellant and woman appeared to be completely voluntary. Holding that the evidence given by the appellant requires consideration, the high court noted, “The evidence relating to the incident dated 10.06.2015 also requires a deeper scrutiny in the light of defence evidence led on behalf of the appellant. It may be preposterous to make observations in detail at this stage but the evidence led by the appellant does require consideration. At this stage, even if the evidence is not to be re-assessed or re-analyzed for the purpose of execution of sentence but the infirmities which have been pointed out on record need consideration. It may also be noticed that the disposal of the appeal is likely to take some time.”
Considering the evidence on record and the “infirmities” pointed out by the appellant, the high court suspended the sentence of the man till the disposal of the appeal and granted him bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 25,000 with two sureties subject to certain conditions.
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