In the case of Prakash Narayan Sharma, v State was deliberating a bail request made by the accused attorney, who had been charged with rape and other crimes under the Indian Penal Code. According to a First Information Report (FIR), the victim addressed the suspect in his capacity as a lawyer, which is how she first got in touch with him. Later, it is said that the accused gradually won her trust before they eventually started dating.
Contention from parties
It was asserted on the survivor’s behalf that the attorney had presented himself as a strong individual with links to influential people, including judges and officials. He was also accused of participating in the creation of pornographic videos and displaying a lot of unwanted pictures of other ladies. The victim alleged that the attorney had forced her to strike intimate poses and consent to having explicit photos taken of her. She claimed further that the accused forced her to have extramarital affairs with him. The survivor claimed that the attorney had threatened her with dire consequences if she didn’t comply with his requests. She further alleged that he stole money from her and then refused to pay it back.
The defence attorney for the accused attorney argued in opposition that the parties’ relationship was consensual. He claimed that after happily posing in suggestive positions and accepting payment from the accused, the survivor built a honeytrap. He said, “Then the survivor also blackmailed the accused.”
Analysis of court order
Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery of the Allahabad High Court single judge bench declined to grant bail to a lawyer accused of raping his client, stating that given the lawyer’s familiarity and close relationship with the victim, granting bail to the lawyer may open doors for the accused to influence the victim, especially since the trial court has not yet recorded the victim’s statement.
The survivor was frequently spotted travelling with the accused attorney and his wife, according to representations, which the court took notice of. The Court was also informed that there were numerous pictures of the survivor posing casually next to the accused, even when his wife was there. There were additional photos that documented private exchanges between the accused and the survivor.
The Court remarked that there is merit to the accused lawyer’s claim that a financial disagreement may have caused a consensual relationship to break down. Nevertheless, the Court concluded that, given the nature of the evidence gathered, there was a strong prima facie case that the accused attorney had “some other interest” and was preoccupied with these pursuits “instead of being active and diligent towards his profession.”The Court stated that it appears that the victim was entangled in the web of pornography that the applicant had woven and was compelled to follow his instructions, including having a sexual connection with him and allowing him to take indecent images.
The judge was also impelled to point out that while a lawyer’s client relationship is typically built on trust and confidence, the facts of the current case are completely in contrast with that. The applicant went outside the scope of the advocate-client relationship and entered a space where social norms were violated, which sparked a number of disagreements and allegations, including a pecuniary one for which there are competing claims. The Court refused to issue bail after citing the contested facts of the case and observing that it appeared the attorney had operated outside the scope of an advocate.