Kar HC | Individual’s freedom cannot be curtailed for indefinite period, especially when his guilt is not proven 

Karnataka High Court: Ashok G. Nijagannavar, J. while allowing the petitioner-accused’s petition for grant of bail, laid down certain conditions such as a sum of one lakh rupees to be paid and he shall appear before the court on all the dates of hearing and shall not tamper with the evidence.

The brother of the deceased victim filed a complaint that the petitioner-accused had kidnapped his sister on the pretext of marrying her. Later, her mother complained that he took undue advantage of the innocence of the victim girl, who was a minor at the time of the alleged incident and was sexually assaulted due to which she was compelled to commit suicide. Later it came to notice of the court and was recorded under Section 164 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 that the deceased had gone with the accused-petitioner on her own and had been living with him since then. Apart from this, there were no specific allegations of kidnapping or sexual assault. A case was filed against the petitioner-accused under Section 439 CrPC for offences punishable under Sections 363, 376 of the Penal Code, 1860 along with with Section 6 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 in Sessions Court; and the bail petition filed by him was rejected by that court. 

The counsel for petitioner strenuously contended that on the date of the complaint the girl was above 17 years and she had full mental ability to understand the consequences.

The counsel for accused-petitioner referred two cases Dataram Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2018) 3 SCC 22 and Sanjay Chandra v. Central Bureau of Investigation, (2012) 1 SCC 40. In Dataram Singh’s case the Court pondered upon the fundamental assumption of criminal jurisprudence i.e., a person is believed to be innocent until proven guilty and that the grant of bail is a general rule. In Sanjay Chandra’s case, the Court said that the object of bail is neither punitive nor preventative and that the object of bail is to secure the appearance of the accused person and should respect the principle that punishment begins after conviction as imprisonment before conviction has substantial punitive content.

In view of the above, the court was of the view that bail is not to be withheld as a punishment, and the bail was granted to the accused-petitioner subject to various terms and conditions. [Santosh v. State of Karnataka, Criminal Petition No. 101779 of 2019, decided on 04-11-2019]

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