Advance bail may be granted when there is no sufficient proof of crime: Karnataka High Court

Advance bail to an accused may be granted if there is a lack of substantial evidence that proves that he was engaged in serious criminal offences. A single judge bench consisting of Justice Krishna S Dixit, while adjudicating the matter in Sri Rakesh B v. State of Karnataka [CRIMINAL PETITION NO.2427 OF 2020], dealt with the issue of awarding bail to an individual accused of rape.

The complainant in the above case stated that she was subject to rape on the false promise of marriage. She stated that she had employed the services of the petitioner for the last two years, during which the petitioner was allegedly forcing her for sexual favours. She elaborated on a particular incident where she went to her office at night, around 11pm, consumed drinks with the petitioner and allowed him to stay with her till morning. The explanation offered by the complainant for such a conduct was that she was tired and fell asleep after consuming the drinks. In another incident she stated that she had been to Indraprastha Hotel for dinner and that the petitioner having consumed drinks came and sat in the car. A letter was allegedly written by the complainant stating that she was ready to withdraw the complaint if a compromise is brought about between her and the petitioner. The petitioner chose to not accept the offer of compromise. Later, the petitioner was charged under the Indian Penal Code on the grounds of rape, cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property and criminal intimidation. The petitioner sought an advance bail from the Court. The respondent vehemently opposed the petition contending that – the offences alleged against the petitioner are serious in nature; there is sufficient material on record to relate the petitioner to the commission of said offences; it is unsafe to the society to grant Advance Bail to the offenders like the petitioner.

The Court upon considering the facts of the case, stated that despite these offences being serious in nature, seriousness alone is not the criteria to deny liberty to the citizen when there is no prima facie case from the side of the State Police. The Bench hence sounded the judgment that; “No reasons have been provided by the complainant as to why she did not approach the Court at the earliest point of time when the petitioner was allegedly forcing her for sexual favours. It is unbecoming of an Indian woman; that is not the way our women react when they are ravished. There is no explanation offered for not alerting the police or the public about the conduct of the petitioner; thus, there are sufficient grounds to admit the petitioner to Advance Bail, especially when granting of bail is the rule and denial is an exception. Courts cannot loose sight of COVID-19 pandemic which poses the threat of infection to the detenues in prison”

Click here to read the judgment.

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