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Himachal Pradesh HC grants bail to man accused of behaving indecently with daughter

The petitioner filed the petition for grant of regular bail in a FIR lodged under Sections 354-A, 504, 506, 509 & 201 of IPC, Section 75 of Juvenile Justice Act and Section 12 of POCSO Act, at Women's Police Station (WPS) Solan, District Solan, Himachal Pradesh.

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The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Wednesday granted bail to a man accused of behaving indecently with his daughter.

The petitioner filed the petition for grant of regular bail in a FIR lodged under Sections 354-A, 504, 506, 509 & 201 of IPC, Section 75 of Juvenile Justice Act and Section 12 of POCSO Act, at Women’s Police Station (WPS) Solan, District Solan, Himachal Pradesh.

The prosecutrix lodged a complaint at WPS Solan, alleging that her father behaves indecently and, on one occasion, had also shown his private parts to her. The complainant alleged that her father mistreats her as well as her mother and brother. She alleged that her father repeatedly picks up quarrel with her mother on the ground that her younger brother is not his son, rather has born from the loins of some other person.

Arvind Sharma, Additional Advocate General, contended that keeping in view the gravity of offence alleged to have been committed by the bail petitioner, he does not deserve any leniency and as such, prayer made on his behalf for grant of bail deserves to be rejected outright.

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Sandeep Sharma, after hearing both parties, noted that prior to filing of the FIR at hand, victim-prosecutrix had also lodged a complaint to the Police Station, alleging that her father had shown his private part to her, but such complaint was subsequently, withdrawn, on account of compromise arrived inter-se parties.

The High Court perused statements of victim-prosecutrix recorded under Sections 154 and 164 Code of Criminal Procedure, presumed that complaint lodged against the petitioner is a result of matrimonial discord inter-se mother of the victim-prosecutrix and bail petitioner i.e. father of the victim-prosecutrix. Moreover, allegation with regard to showing of private parts by the petitioner to the complainant already stands settled on account of compromise arrived inter-se petitioner and the complainant in the earlier complaint filed by complainant, hence, cannot be made basis to reject bail in the instant case.

“ Hon’ble Apex Court as well as this Court in catena of cases have repeatedly held that one is deemed to be innocent till the time, guilt of his/her is not proved in accordance with law. In the case at hand, guilt if any of the bail petitioner is yet to be established on record by the Investigating Agency by leading cogent and convincing evidence and as such, his freedom cannot be curtailed for an indefinite period during trial,” said the Court.

The Court cited the Judgement of the Apex Court In Manoranjana Sinh Alias Gupta versus CBI 2017 (5) SCC 218, in which the Apex Court has held as under:- “ that deprivation of liberty must be considered a punishment unless it is required to ensure that an accused person would stand his trial when called upon and that the courts owe more than verbal respect to the principle that punishment begins after conviction and that every man is deemed to be innocent until duly tried and found guilty.”

Moreover, the High Court referred the recent judgement of the Apex Court in Dataram Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr., in which the Top Court categorically held that a fundamental postulate of criminal jurisprudence is the presumption of innocence, meaning thereby that a person is believed to be innocent until found guilty. Apex Court further held that while considering prayer for grant of bail, it is important to ascertain whether the accused was participating in the investigations to the satisfaction of the investigating officer and was not absconding or not appearing when required by the investigating officer. Supreme Court further held that if an accused is not hiding from the investigating officer or is hiding due to some genuine and expressed fear of being victimized, it would be a factor that a judge would need to consider in an appropriate case.

With above observation, the High Court granted bail to the petitioner. It was clarified by the Court that if the petitioner misuses the liberty or violates any of the conditions imposed upon him, the investigating agency shall be free to move this Court for cancellation of bail.

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