Friday, January 27, 2023

Meghalaya HC grants bail to man accused of raping mother

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The Meghalaya High Court has granted bail to a 21-year-old man accused of raping his mother, who had lodged the FIR alleging that he had raped her in Sohra Police Station, Cherrapunji in the state.

The single-judge bench of Justice W. Diengdoh said, “When it comes to consideration of bail applications, the well-settled principle of bail jurisprudence is that the courts should usually resort to “Bail and not Jail”, of course, under the facts and circumstances of each case.”

Enlarging the accused on bail, the Court noted,

“An incident occurred in which the accused/Petitioner was said to have been caught in the act of rape on his own mother as he was allegedly seen by some eye-witnesses, who are his own nieces, lying on top of his mother. It may also be mentioned that the place of occurrence was the kitchen of their house and the time of the incident was about 1:00 AM in the morning.”

“The complainant/victim has initially lodged the FIR alleging that her own son has committed rape on her, but in her statement u/s 164 Cr.P.C., she could not definitely say that she was raped by the accused/Petitioner. The fact that she has retracted her statement in the form of an averment in a bail application filed by her on behalf of the accused/Petitioner also speak volumes about her pursuing the matter in earnest,”

-Justice Diengdoh noted further.

The bench mentioned the case of Sanjay Chandra v. Central Bureau of Investigation: (2012) 1 SCC 40, referred by Ms. S. Nongsiej (counsel for the petitioner). The Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed as follows:

“From the earliest times, it was appreciated that detention in custody pending completion of trial could be a cause of great hardship. From time to time, necessity demands that some unconvicted persons should be held in custody pending trial to secure their attendance at the trial but in such cases, “necessity” is the operative test. In this country, it would be quite contrary to the concept of personal liberty enshrined in the Constitution that any person should be punished in respect of any matter, upon which, he has not been convicted or that in any circumstances, he should be deprived of his liberty upon only the belief that he will tamper with the witnesses if left at liberty, save in the most extraordinary circumstances.”

However the bench denied to make any observation at this juncture and said that the statement of the alleged eye-witnesses will be tested during their examination in Court in due course.

S. Nongsiej, counsel for the petitioner, submitted, “This is a case where the prosecution has alleged that he has committed rape on his own mother, based on the allegation made in the FIR as well as the statements of the alleged eye-witnesses which is contradictory.”

“Complainant has herself filed a bail application before the Learned Magistrate at Sohra wherein in one of the paragraphs she has categorically stated that the accused/Petitioner has not committed any offence whatsoever. The Complainant/victim in her statement u/s 164 Cr. P.C. has also stated that she woke up and found her son on top of her but since she was unconscious and in a state of shock, she did not know what he did to her. There was nothing mentioned about the alleged rape,” Nongsiej has submitted further.

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S. Sengupta, Additional Senior Public Prosecutor, submitted,

“From the records including the case diary produced before this Court, what could be seen is that a prima facie case has been made out against the accused/Petitioner, inasmuch as, eye witnesses have been cited who have witnessed the offence being committed by the accused and as such, at this stage it may not be proper for this Court to allow the accused/Petitioner to be enlarged on bail.”

The brief facts of the case as could be seen from the records produced before this Court is that on June 3, 2020 around 1 AM, the accused, who is the biological son of the complainant/victim raped her while she was in deep sleep in the kitchen of her house at Tiewlieh Mawmyrsiang village. She came to know about it only when her other children came to wake her up and was told that one of her granddaughters saw the accused lying on top of her. The complainant/victim then filed the FIR before the Officer-Incharge, Sohra Police station which was duly received and registered as Sohra P.S. under Section 376 IPC. The accused/petitioner was then arrested on June 3, 2020 itself and is still in judicial custody till date.

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