Megh HC | Accused under POCSO Act denied bail for harassing victim minor girl opining that there was reasonable apprehension of witness tampering

Meghalaya High Court: The Bench of H.S. Thangkhiew, J. hearing a bail application filed by an accused under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, denied grant of bail opining that the accused was a threat to the victim.

First Information Report was lodged against the accused for committing offence punishable under Section 8 of the POCSO Act, 2012. He was in custody since the date of his arrest as successive bail applications filed by him were rejected by the Special Judge.

Learned counsel for the applicant submitted that the investigation against accused had been completed and hence his further detention was not necessary. Whereas, learned counsel for the respondent submitted that bail should be denied as there were no new facts or materials warranting consideration of grant of bail. Also, the accused was trying to cast undue influence and harassment on the victim by coercing her to enter into a compromise. The said fact of coercion was also recorded in the Special Judge’s order rejecting bail.

The Court opined that normally, after chargesheet is filed, custody of the accused is not needed as the investigation is complete, and since evidence is already collected by the police, there are fewer chances of destruction or concealment of evidence. However, chances of threatening of witnesses may still exist. In the instant case, there was a reasonable apprehension of the witness being tampered with as there were threats to the complainant and the minor victim girl.

It was held that the nature and gravity of circumstances of the offence which involved a minor victim girl under the POCSO Act, and the conduct of accused towards the victim and witnesses weighed against the grant of bail. Accordingly, the present application was rejected.[Sumanta Deka v. State of Meghalaya, 2019 SCC OnLine Megh 1, Order dated 07-01-2019]

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