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NO MEANS NO. NO DOES NOT MEAN YES: Himachal Pradesh High Court

While dismissing an application of bail for offenses under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 4 of the POCSO Act it was held that NO means NO, it ends there and the man has to stop. This judgment was passed in the case of Suresh Kumar vs. State of H.P. [Cr.MP(M) No. 656 of 2021] by a Single Bench consisting of Hon’ble Shri Justice Anoop Chitkara.

The facts of the case are that the victim was waiting for a bus at the bus stand. Around noon the accused, her friend reached there in his jeep and offered to drop her home. The victim boarded and the accused took a detour on the way. Although he insisted on dropping her home when probed by the victim, he did not and took the jeep to a secluded place. He inappropriately touched the victim even after the girl said NO to him. He threatened to force himself on her and had sexual intercourse with her. The victim came back home by bus as he left the place and informed her mother.

The counsel for the accused contended that since the friendship was cordial so was the sexual intercourse, thereby making him eligible for bail. The Hon’ble High Court after hearing the parties and analyzing the factual circumstances, emphasized that in circumstances of threat and coercion, in a secluded area; after the girl said NO, the victim was forced to cooperate and that in itself explains the absence of physical injuries and the presence of semen which indicates unprotected sex.

The Hon’ble High Court held that both absences of resistance and the unwilling submission do NOT imply consent. Hon’ble Justice went on to elaborate, “NO MEANS NO-The simplest of sentences have become the most difficult for some men to understand. No does not mean yes, it does not mean the girl is shy, it does not mean that the girl is asking a man to convince her, it does not mean that he has to keep pursuing her. The word NO doesn’t need any further explanation or justification. It ends there, and the man has to stop. Be that as it may, the victim, in this case, said no to the accused when he started touching her, but he continued. It nowhere implies consent, or zeal and desire to explore and feel each other in romantic love.”

The Hon’ble High Court of Himachal Pradesh held, “Given above, in the facts and circumstances peculiar to this case, at this stage, the petitioner fails to make out a case for bail. The petition is dismissed with liberty to file a new bail application in case of changed circumstance.”

Click here for the Judgment.

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