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An individual cannot be deprived of his freedom permanently, especially when his guilt is not proved

Santosh v. State of Karnataka, C.P. No. 101779/2019- 4th November, 2019

CORAM: Single judge bench comprising of Justice Ashok. G. Nijagannavar

It was being held in this case to allow the petitioner cum accused’s petition of granting a bail upon some conditions such as paying a sum of Rupees One Lakh, to appear in front of the Honourable Court on all the dates of hearing & at any cost, he is to not to tamper with the evidences concerning this case in any manner.

The facts of the case are that a guy files a case against the petitioner/accused that he had kidnapped his sister by on the false pretext of marrying her. Later, her mother also complained that the petitioner/accused took undue advantage of the innocence of the girl, who was a minor at that time & sexually assaulted her, as a result of which she committed suicide. Later it came to the notice of the Court & it was recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 that the girl had gone with the petitioner on her own will and has been living with him since then, also on her own will. There was also nothing to indicate any specific allegations of kidnapping or sexual assault. A case was filed against the petitioner/accused under Section 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 for the offences which are punishable under Section 363, Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 along with Section 6 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 in the Sessions Court. The bail petition filed by the petitioner/accused was rejected by the Court.

The question of law is as to whether be the petitioner/accused guilty? Without any strong evidence to prove can the petitioner be accused guilty? Should he be granted bail petition?

Provisions such as Section 164 & Section 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, Section 363, Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 along with Section 6 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 were examined and looked upon.

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

The Counsel for the petitioner/accused also quoted two important cases/precedents while contending for this case and they are:

  1. Dataram Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2018) (3 SCC 22) &

  2. Sanjay Chandra v. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) (2012) (1 SCC 40)

In Dataram Singh’s case, the Court had examined & pondered upon the fundamental assumptions of criminal jurisprudence, i.e., a person should be held as innocent until he or she is proven guilty. Plus it was also held that the grant of bail is a general rule.

In Sanjay Chandra’s case, the Court had held that the object of bail is neither a punitive nor a preventative one. The core objective of the bail is to secure the appearance of the accused person & care is to be taken that the principle, ‘Punishment begins only after conviction’, should be upheld. Respect should be given to the principle as imposing imprisonment before conviction has substantial punitive content. Also, there are chances of an innocent being punished & our law upholds the principle that we can let thousands of prisoners escape, but never punish even a single innocent person by mistake.

After listening to the petitioner/accused’s counsel’s contention & examining the precedents quoted by the petitioner/accused, the Court observed that bail is to not to be with held as a punishment.

Since there is also the fact that the guilt of the petitioner/the accused is not proven, the Court decided & granted the bail to the petitioner/accused  subjected to various terms & conditions, such as paying bail amount of Rupees One Lakh, to attend that all the dates of hearings that are to be held & not to tamper with the evidences in any manner.

Nardhana Ram

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