Gujarat High Court ‘improbable’ tag on rape FIR set aside
The Supreme Court has set aside a Gujarat High Court order that had quashed a woman’s rape FIR against her boss as “malicious prosecution” on the ground that the charges and purported facts stated in the FIR “appear to be improbable”.
The woman, who was the personal assistant of the managing director of a company in Ahmedabad, alleges the MD raped her several times after blackmailing her with nude photographs that he threatened to publish.
She says she returned to her native Rajasthan and got married, but the accused continued to stalk her and sent the nude photos to her husband, alleging she had had multiple affairs. She then lodged an FIR with Gujarat police.
But the accused approached Gujarat High Court asking that the FIR be quashed. He cited a purported settlement pleading the woman had agreed to drop the case against the payment of a “huge amount”, and claiming theirs was a consensual relationship. The woman denied it was a consensual relationship.
The high court, however, went into the merits of the case despite the police investigation still being on. It ruled that the allegations appeared improbable and quashed the FIR. The woman appealed before the apex court.
“It is evident that the high court has got carried away by the agreement/settlement arrived at… and (decided) that the physical relationship of the appellant with the 2nd respondent (accused) was consensual,” the apex court bench of U.U. Lalit, Indu Malhotra and R. Subhash Reddy said.
“When it is the allegation of the appellant that such document itself is obtained under threat and coercion, it is a matter to be investigated. Further, the complaint of the appellant about interference by the 2nd respondent by calling Shoukin Malik (her husband) and further interference is also a matter for investigation.”
Citing Section 114A of the Indian Evidence Act, the court said: “A reading of the aforesaid section makes it clear that, where sexual intercourse by the accused is proved and the question is whether it was without the consent of the woman… and such woman states in her evidence before the court that she did not consent, the court shall presume that she did not consent.”
The court added: “We have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the complaint, and it is open to the investigating agency and competent court to proceed in accordance with law.”