New Delhi: Delhi police have arrested a woman on charges of 'raping' another woman under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, making it the first such development in India ever, especially after the Supreme Court decriminalised same sex relations in September last year.
The survivor had alleged that a woman had tied an artificial male genitalia to her waist through a belt and then forcefully committed anal sex upon her.
The accused Shivani was produced before the Karkardooma Court where the police was granted a day to interrogate her and thereafter she was sent for judicial custody in Tihar jail.
The 19-year-old accused was arrested on the basis of her statement to the magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code and has been charged under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act.
News18 was the first to report about the case in October, when the woman could not lodge a case against the accused as the police refused to file a case under Section 377 stating that a woman could not commit the crime of rape according to the IPC provision.
After the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, carnal same-sex intercourse is no longer an offence. However, the aspect of consent remains a debatable topic.
Soon after the verdict, a senior government official had told News18 that Section 377 of the IPC will now be applicable only in cases of “no consent penile unnatural sex which also involves minors”.
The official had also said that post the verdict, police will have to tread in the uncharted territory of establishing a principle of consent among consenting adults.
The survivor, who had come to Delhi from a state in eastern India for work, has alleged that the accused woman raped her and subjected her to repeated sexual and physical assaults. Her ordeal continued when the policemen at the Seemapuri Police Station in Delhi refused to book the accused though the latter was found in the “exact spot” where the woman was allegedly held hostage for over two months.
Her ordeal began in March 2018 when she quit her job in Gurugram to start her own business. She got into an agreement wherein she was required to get other partners to invest in an online clothing merchandise. After her stipulated training session in Punjab’s Rajpura, the woman was asked to cough up Rs 1.5 lakh as investment money, which was arranged by her father through a loan shark.
To search for partners, the survivor was advised to approach people in railway stations, airports or bus stops and brief them about her business proposal. It was during this process that she met Rohit, another accused, who told her that he worked for HCL and was ready to invest in her business.
The survivor was allegedly taken to an apartment in Dilshad Colony, where Rohit, and another accused named Rahul, raped her and shot obscene videos to blackmail her.
"First, they forced me to have sex with them. Then it became a gang affair. Soon, I was sent to serve clients and the accused woman was always there in the apartment. She often tried to get close to me, and when I refused, she used to beat me," said the victim.
The accused was taken to GTB Hospital for medical diagnosis before being transferred to Tihar jail. The metropolitan magistrate stated that it solely went by the statement recorded under Section 164 on October 26.
Recounting the ordeal, the victim said Rohit and Rahul pinned her down on all fours on the bed while the accused woman “raped” her using a sex toy to “make her ready for anal sex for her customers".
"The woman was not forced to do it. She was deriving pleasure out of it. I want to see her punished along with the other two," the survivor said.
Hemant Sharma, a social activist and member of Paramjyoti Sewa foundation who helped rescue the woman, told News18 that punishing the accused woman under Section 376 of the IPC was “impossible”.
"Section 376 lists down punishment for rape but confines it to only a man-woman affair and where same sex assault goes unnoticed," said Sharma.
Cases have also been registered against Rahul, Rohit and Sagar, who allegedly aided the victim’s confinement. The three have now been arrested and is currently lodged in Tihar jail.
The chargesheet in the case was filed in December and the cross examination of the prosecutrix had taken place on January 18. The case is currently in the stage of examination of evidences.