Gauhati High Court: S. Hukato Swu, J. rejected the petition of the petitioner and refused him bail.
The factual background of the case indicates that the petitioner was arrested in July 2020 based on a complaint lodged by the father of the victims who had alleged that the accused sexually assaulted two minor children aged 13 and 15, on several occasions. The petitioner moved this bail application on technical grounds submitting that the I.O. of the case had prayed for extension of judicial remand for 15 days and accordingly the learned CJM granted the prayer, by which the petitioner/accused was remanded to judicial custody. However, after this, there was no further prayer for extension of judicial remand. Therefore, the petitioner argued that the right of the petitioner accrued under Section 167 of the CrPC and he had the right to be enlarged on bail.
Contentions of the Public Prosecutor:
Public Prosecutor, V. Suokhrie submitted that while the case records were transmitted to this Court for considering of the bail petition, the chargesheet was already submitted before the Special Judge (POCSO) and the right of the accused no longer subsisted. She also submitted that the petitioner/accused was a very influential person, no less than a Director of a Department and could have a lot of influence on the progress of the case if he was enlarged on bail. The offence, as such, was also heinous in nature and there was a provision which requires that matters pertaining to POCSO Act to be disposed of within a period of one year. Under such circumstances, granting bail to the petitioner/accused would not be in the interest of the prosecution and hence, she vehemently objected to the consideration of the bail.
Further submission of the prosecution was that the accused and the victim lived in the same vicinity and if the accused was to be released on bail it would jeopardize the mental health of the victims because of the proximity.
The Court viewed this case very seriously and gave more weightage to the submission of the public prosecutor and agreed that offences under the POCSO Act are viewed seriously by the Supreme Court and also the society as a whole due to its frequency. Nevertheless, several steps have and should be taken to see that the menace should be curbed.
The Court while rejecting the bail application of the petitioner opined that the instant case was one where the offence alleged was very unpleasant and needed to be tackled with due consideration to ensure the society doesn’t lose faith in the administration of justice. [Lanu Akum v. State of Nagaland, 2020 SCC OnLine Gau 3982, decided on 23-09-2020]