New Delhi: The Punjab and Haryana High Court earlier this week granted bail to former MLA and leader of Lok Insaaf Party Simarjit Singh Bains in a rape case.
Referring to the complainant, the high court said, “There is no evidence that she reflected any trauma through her body language or conduct or complained to anyone about the forcible assault. There is no allegation that she did not do so because she was under a shock.”
The court further said that there was no evidence that the consent was obtained by misconception of facts. ThePrint has a copy of the order.
Referring to a statement by one Kamalpreet Singh, who is Bains’ neighbour, the court, in its order dated 25 January, noted that since the woman “remained quiet for a long time” which would “dent her credibility and such a dent would not justify any further pre-trial incarceration.”
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Rape allegation against Bains
The woman first filed her rape complaint against Bains in November 2020. However, he was taken into custody only in July 2022 after Ludhiana police commissioner constituted a Special InvestigationTeam (SIT) in February that year to inquire into the complaints.
The woman had also filed a complaint July 2021 under Section 156(3) of CrPC which empowers a magistrate to order investigation of cognizable cases such as rape following which magistrate’s order the same month directed registration of a First Information Report (FIR) in which Bains and his six accomplices – Karamjit Singh, Baljinder Kaur, Jasvir Kaur, Sukhchain Singh, Paramjit Singh, and Goggi Sharma were named as accused.
The Punjab & Haryana High Court noted that the woman accused Bains of taking advantage of her precarious financial conditions, which had worsened due to the Covid-19 pandemic and had become unmanageable due to default in payment of bank installments.
The woman accused Bains of “making her sleep with him on numerous occasions”. Referring to this, the state counsel said, “Even if this court presumes that she had given her consent to coitus, such consent was nothing but passive consent, for which she had no other option, given her financial turmoil and loss of her husband, which further aggravated by the loss of earnings in the family due to Covid-19 pandemic.”
The state opposed Bains’ plea saying that given his criminal past, he is likely to indulge in crimes after he is released on bail.
State counsel Anupam Gupta also argued that there was no inconsistency in the victim’s allegations, and there was corroboration through call details records. He also said that Bains’ accomplices were intimidating the victim and hence, he is not entitled to bail because of his conduct, as mentioned in the court order.
‘Attempt to ruin Bains’ image’
Bains’ counsel senior advocate A.P.S. Deol argued that there were “vital improvements and omissions” in the complaint which led to the FIR as compared to the one which the woman had sent to the Chief Minister of Punjab on 5 October 2020, adding that Bains was initially “not involved”. After five days, the matter was settled between the parties after recording their statements, the counsel argued, adding that the concerned Assistant Commissioner of Police had noted in the files that the woman’s satisfaction stood recorded, and no action was required to be taken, he told the court.
Deol also argued that the present FIR was registered to ruin Bains’ career at the instance of his political opponents, and the complainant was playing into their hands.
“If a lady is raped for the first time, she will refrain from visiting such a person again unless she was blackmailed by revealing such an act or by showing her video or photographs, which is not the present case,” Deol said.
He also said that the victim’s conduct for visiting the petitioner again and again prima facie points out her consent for whatever has happened.
‘No sign of trauma, remained quiet for long time’
The court said that the perusal of the bulky file revealed that woman alleged that in August 2020, Bains called her to his office and raped her in the cabin.
“The victim’s stand was that she was helpless, and she could not resist because the accused had promised her financial help, as she could not pay her monthly rent. After that, from September to December 2020, the petitioner called the victim in his office and other places and had coitus with her 10-12 times,” the court observed.
The high court noted that the woman alleged that in October 2020, she was called to the house of Jasvir Kaur (Bains’ neighbour Kamalpreet Singh’s mother) where Bains “again committed coitus with her in the presence of her son, namely Kamalpreet Singh.”
The court took Singh’s statement into account. Singh said he saw the woman at his house. He said the woman was having tea with his mother who told him that she had come to visit Bains about some property issue, but she came over because of the rush at Bains’ house. He said Bains did not meet her at his house.
“In his statement recorded under Section 161 CrPC, Kamalpreet Singh took a contradictory stand and stated that at that time, when the victim had come to sit in their house because of the scarcity of space in the office of the petitioner Simarjit Singh Bains, the petitioner-accused did not visit their house. He further clarified that in his presence, the petitioner did not meet the victim in their house,” the court noted.
The court also said that the woman showed no sign of trauma and remained quiet for a long time. Granting bail, the court said that the possibility of the accused (Bains) influencing the investigation, tampering with evidence, intimidating witnesses, and the likelihood of fleeing justice, can be taken care of by imposing elaborative and stringent conditions.
(Edited by Smriti Sinha)
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