Bail to be issued on the grounds of delay of filing the FIR and the improvements made by the complainants in subsequent statements : Delhi High Court

When a crime especially when it is of a violent nature, the law is very clear and instructive in order to protect the victims, however it also provides the accused equal opportunity to prove themselves innocent as law believes in “innocent until proven guilty”. This was held in the judgment passed by a single bench judge comprising HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SUBRAMONIUM PRASAD, in the matter of DHARMENDRA BHATI V. STATE (BAIL APPLN. 2322/2021) dealt with an issue where the petitioner filed for grant of regular bail under Section 439 Cr.P.C against FIR filed for offences punishable under Sections 323/354- B/452/506/509/34 IPC and Section 12 of the POCSO Act.

It is stated that the petitioner, who was carrying a danda, started beating her husband. It is stated that other accused persons also started beating the husband of the complainant with kicks and punches. It is stated that while the accused were going they threatened the complainants with dire consequences and they also threatened them stating that if they inform Police about the incident they would kidnap their children from school. On the basis of the statements, FIR No. 206/2019 for offences punishable Sections 323/354-B/452/506/509/34 IPC was registered on 03.10.2019.

Record discloses that on the next day of registering the FIR, i.e. on 04.10.2019, the statement of the daughter of the complainants was recorded wherein it was stated that the accused had threatened rape against the child. On the basis of the said statement offence under Section 12 of the POCSO Act was added. The petitioner was arrested on 16.01.2020 and he has been in judicial custody since then. The counsel for the petitioner contends that the FIR was registered after one-and-a-half months of the incident. He contends that the FIR was initially registered under Sections 323/354-B/452/506/509/34 IPC and in the said FIR there is not a single averment that the petitioner and other assailants threatened the child. He states that the fact that there was an inordinate delay of one-and-a-half months in recording the FIR is sufficient for the petitioner to be released on bail.

Ms. Meenakshi Dahiya, learned APP for the State contends that the petitioner is accused of a serious offence and the fact that there is a delay in filing the FIR cannot be a reason to grant bail to the petitioner. She also contends that if the petitioner is released on bail he would threaten the witnesses and therefore the petitioner ought not to be released on bail.

After hearing both the parties The hon’ble Delhi High court allowed the petition and granted bail at a personal bond in the sum of ₹50,000/ due to the delay of one-and-a-half months in filing the FIR, the improvement made by the complainants in subsequent statements there is a reasonable ground to believe that the petitioner has not committed the offence punishable under Section 12 of POCSO Act.

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