The Delhi High Court has granted bail and suspended the seven years sentence awarded to a man for digitally raping an American woman who recently shot a video outside the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, alleging that she was denied assistance there.
The incident dates back to 2013, when Delhi resident Rajiv Panwar sexually assaulted the US national who was staying as a tenant in his house in South Delhi with her husband. She filed a complaint against him in June 2013 and Panwar was convicted of rape by a trial court here in February 2019. He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
When someone rapes a person using their finger or fingers it is termed as digital rape. Panwar challenged the trial courts verdict in the high court which, on July 5, granted him bail on furnishing a personal bond of ₹25,000 and said as the disposal of the appeal may take some time, the substantive sentence of the appellant is suspended during the pendency of the plea.
Upset with the high courts order, the woman shot a video in front of the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, complaining that the man who attacked her in India has been granted bail. In the video, the woman said, “Last month I was notified that the man who viciously attacked me, who I had to fight to make sure he was convicted of his crime and he was sentenced in India, has been given bail on his appeal.”
She further gave details of the unfortunate incident of 2013 and added “you dont give bail to convicted criminals that are sentenced”. “I come here to the San Francisco consulate, where I need to have these forms notarised so that (Delhi) high court knows who my attorney is and I am on board, and I am again denied service and assistance from the consulate in India, now San Francisco they tell me now that I need to go and get it notarised locally then have to go to Sacramento and get the notary verified,” she said in the video.
Justice Chander Shekhar of the high court, while suspending the sentence, said the man has spent over five months in custody. Advocate Karuna Nandy, representing the woman, submitted that Panwar should not be allowed to leave the National Capital Region (NCR) without the permission of the court and the appeal may be heard expeditiously.
The court said it finds force in the contention of the womans counsel and directed that the man shall not leave the NCR without its permission. It also directed Panwar not to contact or get in touch with the complainant woman in any manner and if he does so, she or the prosecution may move an appropriate application for the passing of the appropriate and necessary orders in this regard.
An application was also filed on behalf of the woman that she be impleaded as a party in the appeal. To this, the high court said the proceedings have been launched by the state government on the complaint of the woman who was not a party before the trial court. It said the woman was not required to be impleaded as a party in the appeal but she has a right of audience and hearing and would be heard and granted permission to intervene and assist the prosecutor and this court within the legal parameters during the course of the hearing.