Read Order: Sandeep v. State of Haryana
Chandigarh, June 7, 2022: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently granted bail to a person accused of committing an obscene act with a ten year old girl on the ground that material prosecution witnesses (the victim and her parents) did not support the prosecution’s case and were declared hostile. This consideration was also coupled with the fact that the petitioner was in custody since September, 2021 and he had no criminal antecedents.
Justice Rajesh Bhardwaj was dealing with a petition filed under Section 439 Cr.P.C., wherein the petitioner prayed for the grant of regular bail to the petitioner in respect of an FIR registered under Section 452 I.P.C and Section 8 of POCSO Act.
As per facts of the case, the present FIR was lodged by the father of the victim. The sum and substance of the allegations was that Sandeep son of Sahab Singh i.e. the present petitioner committed an obscene act with the victim, a ten year old girl.
The investigation commenced and the petitioner was arrested on September 24, 2021 itself. The statement of the victim was also recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C. and the petitioner approached the court of Addl. Sessions Judge-cum-Fast Track Special Court, Karnal for grant of bail, however, after hearing the parties, the same was declined vide order. Aggrieved by the same petitioner approached the High court for grant of bail.
The case of the petitioner’s counsel vehemently contended that the petitioner was falsely implicated in the present case due to the rivalry among the neighbors. It was his case that the petitioner had no criminal antecedents and was falsely roped in the present case. The Counsel further submitted that though under the pressure of the family members the prosecutrix was made to depose against the petitioner while her statement under Section 164 Cr.P.C was recorded.
However, the Counsel added that during her examination before the Trial Court, the prosecutrix, her mother and father who were examined as prosecution witnesses, turned hostile. Counsel also argued that as all the material witnesses turned hostile, false implication of the petitioner in the present case was writ large and that once the material witnesses failed to support the case of the prosecution, the same was left with no credible evidence and thus further incarceration of the petitioner was totally unwarranted in the eyes of law and he deserved to be enlarged on bail.
On the contrary, the State counsel opposed the submissions made by counsel for petitioner and submitted that the prosecutrix was a minor and she duly supported the case of the prosecution when her statement under Section 164 Cr.P.C was recorded. However, he candidly acknowledged that the material witnesses i.e. the prosecutrix, her mother and father did not support the case of the prosecution while being examined before the Trial Court. He submitted that in all there were 7 prosecution witnesses out of which 3 were already examined.
After considering these rival submissions, the Court observed that the petitioner was behind bars since September 24, 2021 and that there was nothing on record to show that petitioner had criminal antecedents.
Also, Justice Bhardwaj observed that all the material witnesses including the prosecutrix were examined and a perusal of their testimonies would show that they did not support the case of the prosecution and hence they were declared hostile. The veracity of the allegations and counter allegations would be assessed only after conclusion of the trial, the held, while observing that in the overall facts and circumstances of the case, the Court found that the counsel for petitioner succeeded in making out a case for grant of bail to the petitioner.
Thus, in the totality of facts and circumstances and without making any observation on merits, the present petition was allowed.