HC rejects plea by man seeking discharge in rape, cheating case filed by Marathi actor

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea by a man challenging an order by a Pune sessions judge, who had refused his prayer to be discharged from a rape and cheating case registered against him by a Marathi actor.

The bench held that prima facie, a case was made out, based on the FIR, to proceed against the petitioner and the same warranted a trial against him.

A single-judge bench of Justice N J Jamadar dismissed a writ plea by the man who claimed that he was in a consensual relationship with the actor. He said the alleged marriage between them was a mere film shoot and they were never married. The actor, in her complaint, had said that she met the petitioner in 2008 and they got married in July 2010. Three months later, a woman informed the actor that she was the wife of the man and they had two children.

After the actor confronted the petitioner, he claimed that his previous marriage had been dissolved. Later, the actor came to know that the divorce papers showed to her by the man were fabricated and in 2013, she filed an FIR against the man in Pune on charges of cheating and rape.

She said that in the time, the petitioner had made her open a joint account in a bank at Andheri and had withdrawn a huge amount from it behind her back.

Advocate Aishwarya Kantawala, representing the respondent actor, opposed the man’s plea and said that the accused, who was a married man, was fully aware that he was not the actor’s husband and made her give consent believing that he was the one to whom she was lawfully married, therefore offence of rape is made out as the same cannot be construed as consensual relationship, and the sessions court order was justified.

Justice Jamadar noted that there was enough material on record to show that the marriage ceremony was held between the complainant actor and the accused man, and they cohabited as husband and wife. “The actor’s assertion that she gave consent for physical relations as she was made to believe that she was the wife of the petitioner is also prima facie borne out by the material on record.., indeed it is a matter for trial,” the judge noted. The court held that there are sufficient grounds to proceed against the petitioner even for the offence of rape under IPC. “The trial thus must proceed to its logical conclusion… the petition deserves to be dismissed,” it held.

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