Supreme Court: In an alleged rape case, the petitioner, who is also a public servant, was granted pre-arrest bail by the bench of Ajay Rastogi and B.V. Nagarathna, JJ with the directions that in the event of arrest, the petitioner shall be released on bail on the terms and conditions to the satisfaction of the Trial Court without expressing their opinion on the merits of the case. The petitioner was further directed to co-operate with the investigation.
The Special Leave Petition(‘SLP') seeking pre-arrest bail was filed on the basis of First Information Report (‘FIR') registered at Pratap Nagar, Jaipur Police Station for offences under Section 376 and 506 of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC') read with Section 3 and 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (‘POCSO').
Rajasthan High Court had dismissed the Criminal Miscellaneous bail application considering the gravity of the offence and referring to the re-investigation report, it had stated that the offences under Section 376 and 506 IPC and Section 3 and 4 POCSO Act were proved against the petitioner. At the same time, the Forensic Science Lab (‘FSL') Report was also against the petitioner.
The petitioner argued that the complainant and her family, out of ill will, had orchestrated the complaint and were extorting the petitioner for their own means and benefits. The prosecutrix had earlier retracted her complaint from the police station stating that since she wanted to marry the petitioner, she held the petitioner on ransom by lodging a false complain of rape. The Rajasthan High Court did not appreciate the fact that the previous complaints filed by the prosecutrix was closed on account of being frivolous.
The petitioner further argued that, after thorough investigation, the police officer had submitted a final report holding the FIR lodged by the prosecutrix to be ‘adam vaku' i.e false case. Thereafter, the petitioner's father had approached the Trial Court in order to lodge a complaint under Section 200 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (‘CrPC') against the prosecutrix and her family members under Sections 120-B, 384, 385,388 and 389 IPC. On the said complaint by the father of the petitioner, the Trial Court had ordered an enquiry, consequent to which the report was submitted and thus, the Trial Court had issued process against them under Section 202 CrPC for committing offences under Section 120-B and 388 IPC. In a knee-jerk reaction, the complainant filed a protest petition, on which re-investigation was ordered by the Trial Court.
The petitioner’s contention was that the Rajasthan High Court had failed to acknowledge that the Trial Court had directed re-investigation of the case on the ground that the Complainant submitted false information to the Court on oath, and also the fact that the Trial Court had taken cognizance of offence against the Complainant and her family members for offences under section 120-B and 388 IPC.
Considering the facts relating to filing of closure report by the investigating officer and protest petition being filed consequently, leading to Trial Court directing re-investigation in the matter, the Supreme Court observed that a case for grant of pre-arrest bail was made out.
[Anil Meena v. State of Rajasthan, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1689, decided on 14-09-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For Petitioner: Senior Advocate Dama Seshadri;
Namit Saxena, Advocate on Record;
For Respondents: Advocate Asad Alvi;
Advocate Saba A.K. Patel;
Advocate D. Vidya N.;
Advocate Milind Kumar;
Advocate Jaswant Persoya;
Advocate Ashish Chauhan;
Kumar Dushyant Singh, Advocate on Record.