New Delhi: The Delhi high court has acquitted Mahmood Farooqui, the co-director of award wining film “Peepli Live” in a rape case observing that consent to any sexual advances does not come from a mere hesitation, reluctance or a “no”, it has to be “an affirmative one in clear terms”.
Mahmood was convicted in a rape case involving a researcher from US by trial court which had awarded 7 year jail term. Mahmood was accused of raping his 30-year old research student at his South Delhi residence on the night of March 28, 2015.
The high court has acquitted Mahmood on benefit of doubt.
“In normal scenario, it was expected that consent be viewed as a clear and unambiguous agreement, expressed outwardly through mutually understandable words or actions and the consent can be withdrawn by either party at any point of time,” the Justice Ashutosh Kumar of Delhi high court has observed and viewed, “Normally, body language or a non-verbal communication or any previous activity or passivity and in some cases incapacitation because of alcohol consumption, may not be taken as consent. He has also referred to the provision of rape under the IPC in which it has been added that a woman who does not physically resist an act of rape shall not by that reason only be regarded as having consented to such sexual activity.
“However, in the present case, as has been stated, the appellant (Farooqui) has not been communicated or at least it is not known whether he has been communicated that there was no consent of the prosecutrix,” he has pointed out and acquitted the film director saying “It remained doubtful whether any such incident took place”.
The court further said the relationship extended beyond a normal friendship or a relationship between a guide and a researcher.
Justice Ashutosh Kumar observed, “True it is that such past conduct will definitely not amount to consent for what happened on the night of March 28, 2015, if at all it had happened, as for every sexual act, every time, consent is a must.” “The consent does not merely mean hesitation or reluctance or a ‘No’ to any sexual advances but has to be an affirmative one in clear terms,” he viewed.