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Hard to Believe Widow Raped Many Times at Knifepoint in Crowded Area: Bombay HC

AURANGABAD – The Bombay High Court’s Aurangabad Bench has quashed a FIR and charge sheet against a rape accused, stating it is “difficult to believe that a widow with 2 children in a populated residential locality was forcefully raped several times”.

A division bench of Justice Vibha Kankanwadi and Justice Abhay Waghwase gave relief to the accused, Siddhodhan N. Kurule, 33, of Parbhani, in the complaint lodged against him by the woman, who lost her husband in March 2017.

The victim claimed that on July 13, 2017, when she was at home with her kids, the accused entered her house on the pretext of drinking water, brandished a knife and threatened to kill her and the kids, and then, had forcible sex with her.

She said that Kurule would come drunk, demand money from her, and upon her refusal, took away her ornaments for mortgage, raped her on multiple occasions, and also assaulted her.

After nearly six months, she claimed to be fed up with this, complained to her parents and later lodged the case at the Nava Mondha Police Station.

Kurule’s lawyer, senior advocate Rajendra S. Deshmukh submitted that the FIR was belated, false and full of baseless allegation, the complainant was a widow with 2 kids living in a thickly populated locality and the duo had known each other since long.

He said that the jeweller’s statements showed that the ornaments were mortgaged at her instance, and her parents lived separately and were ignorant of the alleged incidents as she never visited them and they did not come to see her.

Additional Public Prosecutor M.M. Nerlikar argued that the victim was raped multiple times and knifepoint and the accused had forcibly taken away her jewellery.

The victim’s lawyer P. N. Kalani argued on similar lines and pointed out that the investigation was completed, the charge sheet was filed and hence, Kurule must face trial.

However, the bench noted that the FIR was filed after six months by the widow, and in her supplementary statement, she had stated how Kurule used to regularly visit her home and even help her out at times, she had allowed him to operate her ATM card, and there was room to “presume that there was a long-standing association” between them.

“We are of the considered opinion that apart from inordinate delay lodging FIR, the allegation of rape levelled against the applicant (Kurule) does not inspire confidence. In fact there was long-standing acquaintance between (them). It is difficult to accept that a widow with two children residing in a thickly-populated residential locality could be forcibly raped not once but on several occasions,” it said.

Quashing the FIR, the judges said that “whatever sexual encounters took place between (them) apparently seemed to be consensual one, therefore making (Kurule) face trial with such allegations would render him not only hardship but great injustice”.

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