Chastity cannot be treated as property: HC

Chastity cannot be treated as property: HC

The Bombay high court today observed that "chastity cannot be treated as property" while granting anticipatory bail to a man accused of cheating and raping a woman under the pretext of marriage.

27-year-old Girish Mhatre, employed with Central Railway, approached the high court seeking anticipatory bail after the woman lodged a complaint with the police under sections 376 (rape) and 420 (cheating) of the IPC.

"The applicant and the complainant were in a relationship since 2007. The FIR dated April 4 has been filed as the applicant married some other girl. The complainant was a consensual party to the relationship. Hence, bail cannot be refused," Justice A M Thipsay observed.

Raising a query as to why the accused was booked under section 420 of IPC, which pertains to dishonestly inducing a person into delivery of property, Justice Thipsay said, "There is a judgment of another high court which says chastity is property. But I do not agree with it. The lady could have refused to do those acts before marriage."

The court has granted Mhatre bail on a surety of Rs 25,000.
According to Mhatre, he and the complainant were in a "platonic and friendly" relationship since 2007. However, the lady and her friend from a local mahila mandal had been forcing him to marry her.

"When the applicant (Mhatre) refused, the complainant threatened to commit suicide. Her friend also threatened to break up Mhatre's sister's marriage. The duo forced Mhatre to sign a stamp paper dated February 11, 2011 saying he would marry the complainant within a year," the petition states.

It further states that Mhatre married a girl chosen by his family in November last year, infuriated by which the complainant approached the police.

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