Read Order: UTSAV KADAM v. THE STATE OF ASSAM 

Tulip Kanth

Guwahati, August 24, 2021: While granting bail to a student of IIT Guwahati, who is an accused in a rape case, the Gauhati High Court has opined that both the informant/victim girl and the accused are the state’s “future assets” being talented students pursuing technical courses at the Indian Institute of Technology.

Deciding the matter, the Bench, however, stated that there is a clear prima facie case as alleged against the accused petitioner. 

The petitioner, a student of I.I.T., Guwahati, had moved the High Court seeking bail in connection with a Session Case, as per which he was charged under Sections 376/328/307/120B of IPC, pending before the Court of Addl. Sessions Judge, Kamrup (Rural), Amingaon.

In the FIR, the allegations stated that on March 28, 2021, the accused lured the informant/victim female student of the same educational institution to Aksara School premises, in the pretext of discussing about her responsibility as the Joint Secretary of the Finance and Economic Club of the students of the I.I.T., Guwahati and after making her unconscious by forcibly administering alcohol, he raped her. 

It was also alleged that the victim regained her consciousness at around 5 a.m. the next morning at Guwahati Medical College and Hospital, where she underwent treatment and forensic examination. She was discharged on March 29, 2021 and then shifted to the Hospital at IIT, Guwahati where she underwent treatment till April 3,2021.

The petitioner’s counsel contended that the accused, a brilliant student of B. Tech Pre-final year of I.I.T. in chemical engineering, had been in judicial custody for about 120 days in connection with the case, which is entirely based on assumption of commission of the offence of rape without any credible evidence.

It was further argued that the investigation has already been completed and as there is no chance of him jumping the course of justice in any manner, being a student of I.I.T., Guwahati, further continuation of his detention for the purpose of trial of the case may not be warranted and that would amount to causing further damage to his brilliant academic pursuit.

Strongly opposing the bail application, the respondent contended that the allegations made by the victim girl, who is a student of 2nd year B. Tech Chemical Engineering of I.I.T., Guwahati, in her F.I.R., and in the statements recorded under Sections 161 and 164 Cr.P.C. and further, the charge-sheet prima facie establish a clear case in favour of the victim girl. 

It was also submitted that granting of bail to the accused in such a serious offence is against the society while emphasizing that in the backdrop of facts and evidence collected, the accused does not deserve to be released on bail in this charge-sheeted case.

A Bench of Justice Ajit Borthakur mentioned that it is judicially well settled that while dealing with a bail application, the Court is not called upon to discuss the merits or demerits of the evidence available against the accused, but some reasons for prima facie concluding while bail is being granted need to be indicated in brief.

Deciding the matter, the Bench stated that there is a clear prima facie case as alleged against the accused petitioner. 

“However, as the investigation in the case is completed and both the informant/victim girl and the accused are the state’s future assets being talented students pursuing technical courses at the I.I.T., Guwahati, who are young in the age group of 19 to 21 years only and further, they are being hailed from two different states, continuation of detention of the accused in the interest of trial of the case, if charges are framed, may not be necessary,” the Bench held. 

“A perusal of the list of witnesses too, cited in the charge-sheet, this Court finds no possibility of the accused tampering with their evidence or influencing them directly or indirectly, if released on bail,” added the Court.

Lastly, the Bench directed the accused to be released on bail of Rs. 30,000 with two sureties of the like amount to the satisfaction of the Sessions Judge, Kamrup at Amingaon, subject to certain conditions.

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