SC cites 'I love you' email of rape victim and upholds acquittal of film director

SC cites 'I love you' email of rape victim and upholds acquittal of film director

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the acquittal of 'Peepli Live' co-director Mahmood Farooqui in a rape case, citing an email sent by the victim, a US woman, saying, "I do love you."

"How many times you have come across a case where the (rape) victim says I love you," a bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao asked advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the woman.

"They were good friends. The facts of the case show good friendship. How did she communicate  initially 'yes'. How does the other person know that her response is false," the bench asked the counsel.

Grover, for her part, submitted this is a case involving complex relationship. She urged the court to look into the provisions of Section 375b (rape) of the IPC brought in through the Criminal Amendment Act, 2013, which clearly stated consent means unequivocal voluntary agreement by words or gesture or non-verbal communication.

"Yes they were friends and in a relationship but it was not a sexual relationship," she said. The counsel urged the court to go through  rest of the same email sent by the victim to Farooqui, clearly stating that Farooqui became forceful on that day, she was afraid of something happening to her like the victim of 2012 Delhi gang-rape, so she consented but she still owned her sexuality.

"According to her, they knew each and had drinks together. But there was no confusion and neither any positive assertion of willingness on her part," Grover submitted.

The bench, however, made her read the email further, wherein the victim said, "She visited his house when his wife was in the kitchen, he kissed me and I kissed him back."

"This is a very hard case. We will say it is a well-decided case, extremely well-decided," the bench said, dismissing her plea.

Yes not always yes  

The Delhi High Court had on September 25 last overturned the trial court's judgement sentencing Farooqui to seven-year jail term for raping the US research scholar. "It may not necessarily always mean yes in case of yes or no in case of no," the judge said.

The HC had cast its doubt over the March 28, 2015 incident, that allegedly took place in Farooqui's South Delhi residence, and concluded that it was not clear if there was no consent from the 30-year-old victim and if Farooqui was able to understand it as he was allegedly in an inebriated state and suffered from bipolar disorder. The victim had lodged the FIR two months after the incident.

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