Having a Boyfriend Doesn’t Mean Women Can Be Sexually Abused: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court said that a woman may have a boyfriend but that does not give the liberty to any other man to sexually assault her. In an order passed last week, Justice A M Badar denied bail to the man convicted under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences ( POSCO) Act for repeatedly raping his minor niece.

The court rejected the convict’s victim-shaming attempt that the woman has had “two boyfriends with whom she had sexual relations”.  Justice A M Badar said  ” a woman might be of easy virtue but that does not mean that all and sundry can take advantage of this fact. She has a right to say no.”  The judge further added that even if a victim has two boyfriends, an individual is not authorised to commit penetrative sexual assault on her. The Judge pointed out the victim had not attained the age of consent at the time of the incident, saying “she has categorically stated in her cross-examination that the applicant had repeatedly sexually assaulted her.”

The man, a resident of Nashik, was convicted and sentenced by a POSCO court in 2016 to imprisonment for 10 years. He further approached the HC for bail, arguing that he has not committed the said offence and that he deserved to be let out on bail since he was the sole breadwinner of his family.He had argued that the victim did not lodge a FIR at the time of the said incident. This proves the incident did not take place, he said. He also argued that she had two boyfriends in past with whom she had a sexual relationship.

Justice Badar, however, rejected his arguments and held that unavailability of another earning member in the family was not a relevant ground for the suspension of the sentence. The judge denied him bail as he said the offence in question is a serious one and due trial has also proven the same.


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