Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Delhi High Court grants anticipatory bail to rape accused

The Delhi High Court has granted pre-arrest bail to a man charged with rape, including other offences under the IPC and the SC/ST Act, while stating that non-bailable warrants against him would not divest the power of the Court to grant anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. 

On Tuesday, the High Court granted bail to the man, who had been booked for sexual offences against a woman on the false pretext of marriage. The Court was informed that NBWs have been issued against the accused by the Sessions Court. The Court said,

Since this Court is now informed that NBWs have already been obtained against the applicant for his non-appearance, it would be proper to briefly address the issue whether anticipatory bail can be granted if NBWs have been issued against a person. This question has been answered by a Division Bench of this Court in P.V. Narasimha Rao Vs State (CBI).”

Holding the judgment as the basis, the Court said,

Accordingly, the fact that NBWs have already been obtained against the applicant would not divest this court of the power under Section 438 CrPC to grant anticipatory bail to the applicant.” 

The accused was charged under Sections 376/354D/506 of the Indian Penal Code along with the Section 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Dealing with the another issue of grant of anticipatory bail in case of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, the Court said, “It would appear therefore that the offences under Section 376/354D/506 IPC, alleged to have been committed for the period between 2013 and 2019, had no reference to the prosecutrix’s caste; whereby, in the opinion of this court prima facie section 3(2)(v) of the SC ST Act does not come into play.” 

The Court noted in its order, “Insofar as the provisions of section 3(1)(r) and section 3(1)(s) of the SC ST Act are concerned, there is no allegation that the applicant committed any of the said offences; nor indeed is there any allegation that the alleged caste slur was made in the presence of any third party or in a public place, thereby not making out a case of a caste slur having been made “within public view” as required in section 3(1)(r) and section 3(1)(s) of the SC ST Act.”

The Court said, “Absent the applicability of section 3(2)(v) of the SCST Act, or for that matter even sections 3(1)(r) and 3(1)(s) of the SCST Act, the question of section 18 or section 18A(2) of the SCST Act getting triggered does not arise.” Therefore, the Court ruled applicability of Section 438 CrPC available to the applicant and the pre-arrest bail application was maintainable. 

In relation to the grant of anticipatory bail plea, Court has taken some points in the consideration are as follows:

(a) That it is the prosecutrix’s own case, as seen from the FIR and Section 164 CrPC statement, that she had been in a relationship with the applicant since 2013, during which she had also travelled outstation with him;

(b) That the prosecutrix has also said in her Section 164 CrPC statement that the applicant had sought the concurrence of her parents for their marriage, to which her parents had even agreed;

(c) That from the documents placed on record by the applicant, and from a perusal of the FIR and Section 164 CrPC statement, it also appears that there was some transaction in relation to the Wazirabad property, where the prosecutrix and her family were residing, which it now appears has become a civil dispute since a lawyer’s notice is stated to have been issued by the applicant to the prosecutrix’s mother;

(d) That the FIR has been registered in relation to a series of alleged episodes, stated to have been committed between 2013 and 2019, the last of which dates back to 08.02.2019; but the FIR has been registered much later on 20.08.2020; and

(e) That throughout the investigation of the case and up until the filing of the charge-sheet on 12.11.2020, the applicant has not been arrested.

Thus, according to the above circumstances, Court has directed that in the event of his arrest, the applicant shall be admitted to bail by the Investigating Officer/Arresting Officer on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 50,000, with one surety in the like amount from a family member to the satisfaction of the Investigating Officer/Arresting Officer.

The Court has further held that granting bail to the accused does not prejudice the proceedings in the pending trial at the trial court. The applicant shall not tamper with evidence nor otherwise indulge in any act or omission that is unlawful. The applicant shall also co-operate in any further investigation in relation to the present case, if called upon to do so.

Also Read: Allahabad HC directs Centre, UP govt to file replies in habeas corpus plea by people arrested with journalist Siddique Kappan



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