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Peshawar High Court (PHC) grants bail to man in rape case

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has granted bail to a man arrested on the charge of sexually abusing a young woman on the pretext of marrying her in Swat district around two months ago.

Justice Mohammad Naeem Anwar of a single-member bench accepted the accused’s petition on condition of furnishing two surety bonds of Rs200,000 each.

The bench observed that while there was denial of the fact that the complainant (woman) had directly charged the petitioner with raping her in his house, the FIR did not have the allegations against him of abducting her or taking her to his house deceitfully.

It added that the complainant was referred to a radiologist for the ascertainment of her age and the examination found her to be 20-21.

Woman accuses him of assaulting her on pretext of marriage

The bench observed that it appeared from tentative assessment of the available records that the complainant had gone to the house of the petitioner of her own free will.

It added that in such circumstances, it could not be determined at the stage of bail whether the complainant had consented to the sexual activity by the petitioner or not.

The bench declared that the trial court, after recording of prosecution evidence, especially the statement of the complainant, would be in a better position to decide as to whether the allegations against the petitioner constituted the offence of rape as defined in Section 375 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which was punishable under Section 376 or it was a case of fornication which was punishable under Section 496-B of the PPC.

It added that Section 203-C of the Code of Criminal Procedure had provided a proper mechanism for filing a complaint.

The FIR of the alleged crime was registered at Swat’s Mingora police station on Jan 1, 2023, on the complaint of the woman.

The complainant had claimed that around two weeks ago, she had gone to a bakery where the accused had shared his mobile number with her.

She added that she contacted the accused on that number and became friends with him.

The complainant alleged that on the night of Dec 30, 2022, the accused had taken her to his house on the pretext of solemnising nikkah with her but subjected her to sexual abuse against her will.

She added that the accused showed reluctance to marry her thereafter.

The petitioner’s counsel, Murad Ali, had contended that his client was a teenage person and could not even think of committing a sex crime.

He added that his client was implicated in a fake rape case and that no criminal case had ever been registered by the police against him.

Earlier, the bail petition of the accused was rejected by an additional district and sessions judge of Swat on Jan 23.

The court had ruled that the accused was directly charged with committing a heinous offence, so he did not deserve to be extended the concession of bail.

Source: Dawn