4 May 2023 5:27 PM GMT
Observing that the “investigation is at its nascent stage”, the Gauhati High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Youth Congress Chief Srinivas BV in an FIR alleging sexual harassment and outraging the modesty of an expelled party leader.Justice Ajit Borthakur said that the statement of the alleged victim wherein she has implicated the accused with the alleged offences...
Observing that the “investigation is at its nascent stage”, the Gauhati High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Youth Congress Chief Srinivas BV in an FIR alleging sexual harassment and outraging the modesty of an expelled party leader.
Justice Ajit Borthakur said that the statement of the alleged victim wherein she has implicated the accused with the alleged offences is recorded under 164 CrPC by the CJM Kamrup (M) at Guwahati, “after giving her a period of two hours for reflection and thereafter, on being satisfied that she deposed voluntarily and without being under any pressure or influence from any side”.
Srinivas had sought pre-arrest bail in connection with the case filed by a former Assam Youth Congress leader under Sections 509/294/341/352/354/354A (iv)/506 of the IPC read with Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. It has been alleged that the he had been persistently harassing the victim mentally by way of sexist and slang words and also threatening her with dire consequences if she complained the same before the high office bearers of the Youth Congress. It is further alleged that the alleged victim was also heckled in a Congress session at Chhattisgarh.
Senior Advocate K.N. Choudhury, representing Srinivas, contended that the allegations levelled against him are completely false and mala fide. He argued that the FIR has been lodged with an ulterior motive to malign the reputation of the petitioner and to avoid any litigation for making defamatory statements made by the informant on social media against him.
He further submitted that for the defamatory and scandalous remarks made by the informant victim on social media, the Legal Cell of the Indian Youth Congress sent a Legal Notice of Defamation on 18.04.2023 and sought for immediate public apology. "Thereafter, in April 2023 she had lodged the FIR which is clearly an afterthought," he added.
The counsel also submitted that the perusal of the ejahar does not disclose an offence under Section 354 of the IPC against the petitioner.
On the other hand, M. Phukan, Public Prosecutor, pointed out that Srinivas had filed two pre-arrest bail applications before the Sessions Court in Bengaluru, Karnataka and both the petitions have been rejected after appreciating the materials on the case diary.
The prosecutor argued that the petitioner was given the notice under Section 41A Cr.P.C. calling upon him to appear before the Officer-in-Charge of Dispur P.S. on 02.05.2023 at 11 a.m. However, the petitioner has not complied with the notice "to avoid his apprehension of being arrested in connection with the aforesaid non-bailable offence under Section 354 of the IPC as per Section 41A(3) CrPC", he submitted.
Observing that the FIR was registered on April 20 after a preliminary enquiry was done by a Police Officer, the court said the investigation is at its nascent stage.
"For the above stated reasons as well as consideration of the various pleas taken by the petitioner and the documents he filed, this Court is of the opinion that it is not a fit case to grant the privilege of pre-arrest bail to the petitioner. Accordingly, the pre-arrest bail application of the petitioner stands rejected," said the court.
Case Title: SHRI SRINIVAS B V v. THE STATE OF ASSAM
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Gau) 55
Click Here To Read Order