The Punjab and Haryana High Court granted bail to three former law students who were convicted of gangrape on the grounds that the complainant’s statement stemmed from a “promiscuous attitude and a voyeuristic mind”, The Indian Express reported on Friday.
The division bench of Justice Mahesh Grover and Justice Raj Shekhar Attri ordered the three to pay compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the woman.
The case dates back to 2015 when a student of OP Jindal Global University in Sonepat had alleged that her friend Hardik Sikri had blackmailed her using photos of her in the nude. The woman had alleged that she was forced to have sex with Sikri and his two friends, Vikas Garg and Karan Chhabra. The three men were law students of Jindal Global Law School.
In May, a lower court in Sonepat had sentenced Sikri and Chhabra to 20 years in jail and Garg to seven years. The three had approached the High Court for bail.
The division bench said its order was intended to “balance the concerns of the victim, demands of society and law and the element of reformatory and rehabilitative justice”, Bar and Bench reported. “The testimony of the victim does offer an alternate story of casual relationship with her friends, acquaintances, adventurism and experimentation in sexual encounters...and the narrative does not throw up gut-wrenching violence, which normally precede or accompany such incidents.”
The High Court also ordered the three law students to undergo psychiatric counselling till they are “free of their voyeuristic tendencies”. It also stressed that “nothing above should be construed to be an expression on the merits of the case”.