A Criminal Original Petition was filed under Sec-439 of CR.P.C. praying to enlarge the petitioner on bail charged for offences under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 and Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860.
Brief Facts leading to the case:
- It was a case of sexual harassment of a minor girl, which was alleged to happened between 2013 and 2015.
- The de facto complainant narrated whole incident of sexual harassment committed by petitioner and other accused on her, while she was an in-mate in the hostel run by the petitioner.
- The complainant left the hostel in 2015 and continued to pursue her higher studies elsewhere and got employed in an IT company.
- In December 2021, she filed a complaint against petitioner and other accused, alleging them of committing sexual harassment and aggravated penetrative sexual assault while she was a minor girl and staying in the hostel run by the petitioner.
- She told in the FIR that she feared the influence of petitioner and disgrace because which she did not disclose the matter to the outer world.
- She later came to know that the petitioner was arrested by CBCID and from there she got the courage to file this complaint against him narrating all the sexual harassment and assault incidents, which were occurred 7 to 8 years ago.
- The petitioner was arrested and remanded judicial custody on the file of the respondent police for the offences punishable under Sec-376, Sec-366-A, Sec-506(I) of IPC and Sec-5(f) and Sec-5(I) read with Sec-6, Sec-9(I) read with Sec-10, Sec-6 read with Sec-17 of the POCSO Act.
- However, other than the present case, there were 7 cases more pending against the petitioner. The present case was the 8th case. The Hon’ble Supreme Court granted statutory bail in 4 cases, regular in 2 cases and in one case where final report was not filed in prescribed period, considered all the cases foisted against petitioner and granted bail.
Observation of the Court:
- Considering the submissions made by the learned counsel for both the parties, the court found that the petitioner was brought under scanner of CBCID about 10 months ago for his alleged illegal activities and arrested him at Delhi and pursuing the investigation. Except in one case, the final report was not filed within the statutory period prescribed.
- Court observed that because of registering one after another case, the petitioner was in judicial custody for about 10 months. In present case, the de facto complainant came forward to give her complaint after 7 years and also given statement before the Magistrate duly recorded under Sec-164 of CR.P.C.
- Considering all the submissions, the court held that the petitioner entitled for bail on same conditions imposed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Court also considered the apprehensions expressed by the Additional Public Prosecutor and to ensure that the petitioner co-operate for the investigation and trial, directed him to surrender his passport before the POCSO Court, Chengalpattu, where the case against him is likely to be tried.
- Lastly, court ordered to release the petitioner on bail on following conditions:
- The petitioner shall execute a bond for a sum of Rs.50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand only) with two sureties, each for a like sum to the satisfaction of the learned Sessions Court, Special Court for POCSO Act, Chengalpattu.
- The sureties shall affix their photographs and Left Thumb Impression in the surety bond and the learned Magistrate may obtain a copy of their Aadhar Card or Bank Pass Book to ensure their identity.
- The petitioner shall report before the Investigating Officer as and when required for interrogation and the petitioner shall surrender his passport before the POCSO Court, Chengalpattu where the case against him is likely to be tried. Further he shall not leave the state of Tamil Nadu without prior intimation of his place of visit and dates to the Investigating Officer.
- The petitioner shall not tamper with evidence or witness either during investigation or trial.
- On breach of any of the aforesaid conditions, the learned Judicial Magistrate/Trial Court is entitled to take appropriate action against the petitioner in accordance with law as if the conditions have been imposed and the petitioner released on bail by the learned Magistrate/Trial Court himself as laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in P.K. Shaji vs. State of Kerala.
- If the accused thereafter absconds, a fresh FIR can be registered under Section 229A IPC.
Vaishali Jain, Advocate & Associate – Child Safety at Work & Riddhima Khanna