NEW DELHI: A pilot with a private airline will face trial for allegedly having unnatural sex with a former air hostess of the carrier, the Delhi High Court has said while absolving him of the charge of rape. Justice S P Garg said the trial court "fell into grave error" by observing that the pilot used his authority to force the 29-year-old woman, a Delhi resident, to have physical relations with him.
The court noted that as per the woman's version, the accused had approached her only in October 2013 nearly 10 months after she had quit the airline. At that time she was not in any manner under his supervision or dominance, it said. "There was no occasion for the petitioner (pilot) to establish physical relation with the prosecutrix (woman) using his position or authority as pilot," it said. It, however, said that the accused has to face trial for the charge of unnatural sex as "truthfulness and falsity of allegations cannot be gone through at this stage".
The court also said the allegation pertaining to unnatural offence cannot be brushed aside or ignored. The order came on the accused' plea challenging the trial court's May 2016 order framing charges against him. The man, who is on bail since September 2014, however, has claimed that "no incriminating material" was produced against him by the woman to prove the charges.
As per the prosecution, the woman had joined the airline in August 2009 as an air hostess and had quit the job in January 2013. The prosecution had contended in the high court that the petitioner had on February 2, 2014 gone to her house and had offered to drop her for her flight that day. Finding her alone, the man had committed the offence, it had said. Subsequently, an FIR was filed against the man in June 2014.
Relying on the prosecution version, the court observed that "similarly, there are allegations whereby the prosecutrix was threatened that she would be defamed by showing her obscene pictures if she tried to reveal the incident to anyone. "She was also threatened that she would be killed if situation so demanded... The petitioner shall face trial for commission of offences punishable under Sections 377/506 (unnatural sex and criminal intimidation) IPC."