HC agrees to hold in-camera proceedings in Mumbai scribe's anticipatory bail plea in rape case

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Friday agreed to conduct in-camera proceedings in the anticipatory bail plea of a Mumbai-based television journalist in a rape case.

Justice Mukta Gupta said the matter will be taken up at 3:30 pm and a separate web link will be created for the lawyers appearing for journalist Varun Hiremath, the complainant and the Delhi Police.

The case will be heard after all the listed matters for the day, the court said.

A request for in-camera hearing was made by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Hiremath.

He also informed the court that a status report has been filed by the police in the case.

The court had, on April 9, granted interim protection from arrest to the journalist in the case till April 16, provided he joined the police investigation.

It had issued notices and sought the responses of the police and the complainant on the journalist's plea seeking anticipatory bail in the case.

The court had also asked the police to verify the documents to be given by the accused and file a status report.

The journalist approached the high court after his anticipatory bail plea was dismissed by a trial court here on March 12.

The 22-year-old complainant has alleged that she was raped by Hiremath (28) at a five-star hotel in Chanakyapuri on February 20.

The counsel for the accused claimed before the court that there was a history of sexual relationship between the complainant and the journalist.

The complainant was represented in court through senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan.

The trial court, while rejecting the journalist's anticipatory bail plea, had said consent cannot be implied from the complainant's previous experiences with the accused and if the woman stated in her evidence before the court that she did not consent, the court shall presume that she did not.

The accused's counsel had highlighted WhatsApp and Instagram chats between the complainant and the accused before the trial court 'in order to show the love and passion between them for each other'.

The trial court had also noted in its order that some WhatsApp chats of the victim and the accused after the alleged offence indicated 'towards the feeling of sorry by the accused for his acts'.

It had said the question of consent coupled with the conduct of the complainant and the accused was a matter of trial and that it was only considering the anticipatory bail plea.

On the basis of the woman's complaint, an FIR under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 376 (punishment for rape), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) was registered at the Chanakyapuri police station here. PTI SKV RC