An accused cannot be kept behind bars for an unlimited period before being adjudicated guilty

High Court of Himachal Pradesh: While deciding a bail application filed under Section 439 CrPC, a Single Judge Bench comprising of Chander Bhusan Barowalia, J. enlarged the petitioner on bail observing that it was a fit case where the judicial discretion to admit the petitioner to bail was required to be exercised in his favour.

The petitioner was charged under Section 376 IPC. He was accused of sexually assaulting the prosecutrix. It was alleged that the petitioner indulged in sexual intercourse with the prosecutrix on the pretext of marrying her. However, now the petitioner was denying to marry her and as such the prosecutrix filed the complaint which resulted in the criminal case being registered against the petitioner.

Learned counsel for the petitioner argued that he was innocent and he was neither in a position to tamper with the prosecution evidence nor in a position to flee from justice. He further argued that the prosecutrix was four years elder to the petitioner. The petitioner was just 19 years of age when the offence was alleged to have committed. As per the learned counsel for the petitioner, the only case was that the petitioner was seen by the prosecutrix chatting with another girl on Facebook and this was the reason that she lodged the FIR against the petitioner.

The High Court perused the whole record and the rival contentions of the parties and was of the view that the petitioner was in custody for over two years and he could not be kept behind the bars for an unlimited period before being adjudicated guilty. Therefore, keeping in view the material which came on record and without discussing the same at the instant stage, the Court found that it was a fit case where the judicial discretion to admit the petitioner on bail was required to be exercised in his favor. Accordingly, the application was allowed and the petitioner was granted bail, subject to the conditions imposed. [Ankush alias Shivam v. State of Himachal Pradesh, 2017 SCC OnLine HP 1596, order dated 7.11.2017]

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