Kidnapped or Eloped? Minor alleged to have been kidnapped tracked after almost 4 years: Del HC demystifies whether she ran away on her own or was kidnapped

Delhi High Court: Subramonium Prasad, J., granted bail to a person accused of kidnapping a minor, which eventually in view of the minor’s statement was a case of her running away on her own accord and living a happy married life with him.

The instant petition was filed to seek bail in FIR registered for offences under Sections 363, 366, 376 of Penal Code, 1860, Sections 4 and 6 of the POCSO Act read with Section 10 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.

Factual Background

It was stated that a missing complaint was registered in 2017 where the complaint was given by the father of the victim that his minor daughter was kidnapped, and she had been missing and last seen details were given in the complaint.

Further, the investigation was completed and did not result in a fruitful outcome.

Later in the year 2020, the victim telephoned her mother stating that she had delivered a baby boy and he was 3 months old and she revealed that she had been married for the last four years.

The said information was passed on to the Police, who landed in Madhya Pradesh to trace the young girl/ victim. The police tracked down and recovered the young girl. When she was being taken for conducting a medical examination, the same was refused. She was brought back to Delhi and her statement was recorded under Section 161 CrPC, thereafter under 164 CrPC.

In the said statement she stated that she ran away from home and met the petitioner and got married to him and now she has a 3-year-old daughter and a 3-month-old infant.

Police after noting the school records found the date of birth of the victim to be 2-3-2001, and therefore amended the charges against the petitioner and added offences under Sections 4 and 6 of the POCSO Act and Section 10 of the Child Marriages Act.

Petitioner was arrested and his bail application was rejected stating that he had kidnapped the then minor victim, and repeatedly had sexual intercourse with her which resulted in the victim getting pregnant as a minor. The said offence was a serious one that involved the exploitation of the minor.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Parameters for consideration of enlarging a person on bail are as follows:

  • Nature of accusation and severity of punishment in case of conviction
  • Person concerned shall not tamper with evidence or influence witnesses
  • Person should not flee justice
  • Person shall be available as and when the trial requires into to do so
  • Prima Facie satisfaction of the court in support of the charge.

Victim’s statement recorded by the Magistrate indicated that she was peacefully living with the petitioner and their two children and was not kidnapped by the petitioner, infact ran away on her own accord.

Court prima facie was satisfied that the petitioner and the victim were happily cohabiting with each other and raising their family.

No custodial interrogation of the petitioner was required, infact keeping him in custody would only drive the prosecutrix and her two children to starvation.

“Petitioner and the victim are happily married, and they have two children and have been raising a family together is a ground enough to release the petitioner on bail.”

Petitioner was granted bail in view of certain bail conditions. [Ram Sevak v. State,  2021 SCC OnLine Del 5195, decided on 3-12-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner:

Mohammed Shamikh, Advocate

For the Respondent:

Meenakshi Dahiya, APP for the State with W/SI Pooja, P.S. Sonia Vihar

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