Karnataka High Court, Dharwad Bench while granting a bail arising from a criminal petition filed under Section 439 of CrPC to an accused charged with kidnapping and raping a minor girl who later committed suicide stated “Gravity alone cannot be a decisive ground to deny bail, rather competing factors are to be balanced by the Court while exercising its jurisdiction.”
Justice Ashok G Nijagganavar granted the bail to the accused observing the example set by the Apex Court in the case of Sanjay Chandra v. Central Bureau of Investigation (2012) 1 SCC 49 where it was held “…the object of bail is to secure the appearance of the accused person at his trial by reasonable amount of bail. The object of bail is neither punitive nor preventative. Deprivation of liberty must be considered a punishment unless it can be required to ensure that an accused person will stand his trial when called upon. 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 duly found guilty.”
The Apex Court in this case laid down that ‘necessity’ is the operative test.
The accused in this case according to the prosecution had kidnaped and raped a female minor on a false pretense of marriage and has been charged accordingly with the provisions of the POCSO Act. The petitioner argued that the victim girl was more than 17and was more than capable of comprehending the situation at hand. The statements collected by the virtue of Section 164 of the CrPC also did not evince the fact that she had been kidnapped or sexually assaulted or raped.
The prosecution argued vehemently that since the charges are under the POCSO Act which of great quantum and gravity, the accused must not be released on bail. The court allowed the petition of bail noting the following conditions