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The hostility of a minor sexual assault victim and her mother constitutes “changed circumstances” for the granting of bail: Karnataka high court.

An accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl and marrying her was granted bail after the victim and her mother became hostile in court during the trial, is upheld by the High Court of Karnataka through the learned Judge JUSTICE K NATARAJAN in the case of Hanumanthappa v State of Karnataka & Others (Criminal Petition No. 3997/2022).

Brief facts of the case:

The defendant was apprehended on October 2, 2020 for offences punishable under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, 2012, and Section 9 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.

According to the FIR, the petitioner married a 14-year-old girl against her will and sexually assaulted her. The Addl ruled against the defendant’s bail application. Judge of District and Sessions, under ruling dated May 24, 2021. The accused then petitioned the High Court for release, alleging “changing circumstances.”

According to the petitioner, the victim and her mother were interrogated by the Special Court as PW.1 and PW.2 and both turned hostile and did not support the prosecution’s case. In addition, it was mentioned that the investigation into the matter is complete and that an indictment has been filed.

The prosecution, on the other hand, rejected the plea, arguing that the court may condemn the petitioner based on the evidence presented by the doctor and the investigating officer.

JUDGMNET:

The petitioner is accused of sexually assaulting the victim, who was underage at the time of the attack, and then married her. The police have cited Section 9 of the Child Marriage Prevention Act. Although the victim and her mother testified against the petitioner in front of the police, they became antagonistic over the course of the enquiry and in court. For this reason, the court need not convey a view on the merits of the case when granting bail for a defendant many times based on the same set of facts and circumstances. The petitioner is not obligated to remain in judicial custody unless further trial is necessary.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – HARILAKSHMI

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