NEW DELHI: India’s top court has acquited a Bollywood director Mahmood Farooqui who was earlier convicted by a lower court for raping an American research scholar.
The decision has sparked a debate in the country with an alarming situation of rising rape cases.
Farooqui was initially found guilty of rape in 2016, but the Delhi High court later overturned the conviction on appeal, ruling the incident was consensual.
The High Court judge, Justice Ashutosh Kumar remarked that Farooqui ‘may not have been aware that the woman had not consented to sex’. The comment started intense debate across the country.
“In cases where the parties are known to each other, it could be really difficult to decipher whether a feeble ´no´ – little or no resistance – actually amounts to a denial of consent,” said Justice Kumar.
US scholar, the victim attempted to appeal in Supreme Court, but the court on Friday dismissed her plea, saying the acquittal was justified and ‘well decided’.
“The high court judgement is well written. It does not require our interference,” said S.A. Bobde, one of the judges hearing the case.
India has a severe record of sexual crimes against women, with nearly 39,000 rape cases reported in 2016, according to government data.
Mahmood Farooqui is an Indian writer and director, has co-directed a 2010 Bollywood movie Peepli Liv. Harud and Mang Souffle are the other fils on his credits.
The alleged incident took place on March 28, 2015, when Farooqui invited her for dinner at his house. An FIR was launched against Farooqui on women’s complaint on Jun 19, 2015, after which he was arrested.