Bail in a Rape case

Rape case is generally presumed to be the case in which bail can not be granted at all. Matter gets worse when Courts make general observations about conditions and plight of women and proceed to refuse bail without referring to the facts of the case.

Conduct of complainant:

In one such case FIR was recorded in 2001, in which no allegation of rape was made and a case of misbehaviour u/s 506(2) was registered. No action was taken by complainant for a nearly a decade when she applied the court to add the charge of rape which was finally allowed in 2013.

Delay in addition of charge of rape:

In view of addition of charge under Section 376 IPC, the Magistrate passed the order on 25.04.2013 for committal of proceedings to the Sessions Court and taking the appellant into custody. Accused moved the  Sessions Court  for grant of anticipatory bail which was ultimately granted on 18.05.2013. Against this order of grant of anticipatory bail, the prosecutrix filed criminal revision petition which has been allowed by the High Court vide impugned order dated 18.07.2014 cancelling the anticipatory bail granted to the accused.

Supreme Court set aside order of High Court with these observations:

At this stage, it cannot be said as to whether there was any physical relationship between the appellant and the prosecutrix and, if so, whether it was consensual and, therefore, no charge of rape was made out. The fact remains that a charge of rape has been framed. It would ultimately be for the trial court to arrive at the findings as to whether such a charge stands proved or not, on the basis of evidence that would be produced by the prosecution in support of this charge. With these preliminary remarks, we advert to the core issue, namely, whether in the circumstances of this case, appellant was entitled to anticipatory bail or not and whether the High Court was justified in cancelling the anticipatory bail. ……..

………….[N]o purpose would be served in compelling the appellant to go behind bars, as an undertrial, by refusing the anticipatory bail in respect of alleged incident which is 17 years old and for which the charge is framed only in the year 2014. The investigation is complete and there is no allegation that the appellant may flee the course of justice. The FIR was registered and the trial commenced in the year 2001; albeit with the charge framed under Section 506(2) IPC, and during all these periods, the appellant has participated in the proceedings. There is no allegation that during this period he had tried to influence the witnesses. In the aforesaid circumstances, even when there is a serious charge levelled against the appellant, that by itself should not be the reason to deny anticipatory bail when the matter is examined keeping in view other factors enumerated above.

[Source: Bhadresh Bipinbhai Sheth vs State of Gujarat decided on 1 September, 2015.]

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