P&H HC | 80-year-old sexual offence accused granted bail as complainant’s inability to produce medical report creates “serious doubt about her veracity”

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Hari Pal Verma, J. allowed the petition filed by the petitioner by granting him bail under Section 439 read with Section 482 CrPC.

An FIR dated 11-05-2019 was lodged against the petitioner under Section 354 IPC as well as Section 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The FIR was registered by the mother of the alleged victim, who was a fifteen-year-old girl of unsound mind. As per the FIR, on 01-05-2019, the complainant found her daughter (victim) in a state of shock at her house. On questioning, the informed her mother that the petitioner, who was a resident of the same village, had done “obscene acts” with her. The victim was not able to express herself fully.

As per the complainant, she had seen the petitioner leaving her house on earlier occasions as well, but on the date of the alleged incident, when she caught the petitioner, he ran away leaving his cycle and a shoe which he was wearing behind. It was suspected that he had committed rape upon her daughter.

The Counsel for the petitioner, A.P.S. Sandhu and Parv Aggarwal, stated that the petitioner was an old man of about 80 years of age. He stated that the complainant was habitual in making such complaints repeatedly. He put on record that many people including the Sarpanch of the village have furnished their respective affidavits stating that the complainant was habitual in making such allegations in order to extract money. There was also no medical report in the case and the trial was also not likely to be concluded in near the future. However, the petitioner had been in custody ever since 01-07-2019. The State Counsel, Saurav Khurana, submitted that the chemical examination report in the case was awaited.

The Court explained that the allegations against the petitioner were of a serious nature since he was alleged that he had committed rape upon the prosecutrix, who was a young girl of 15 years of age and was of unsound mind. The complainant had alleged that earlier also, she had seen the petitioner while doing “wrong acts”, but she had not reported the matter to the police, which created serious doubt about her veracity. There was also no medical report on record to substantiate the allegations made by the complainant. The Court held that since the petitioner was an old man who was about 80 years of age and the trial was not likely to be concluded in near future, the petitioner deserved to be admitted on bail. The Court allowed the appeal and ordered the petitioner to be released on bail on his furnishing adequate bail and surety bonds. The Court also directed that the petitioner must not extend any threat and try to influence any prosecution witness directly or indirectly in any manner. [Gurnam Singh v. State of Haryana, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 2245, decided on 26-11-2019]

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