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'No Material Against Him': Karnataka High Court Quashes POCSO Case Against Bishop

Mustafa Plumber
15 Jun 2022 10:18 AM GMT
No Material Against Him: Karnataka High Court Quashes POCSO Case Against Bishop
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The Karnataka High Court recently quashed the proceedings initiated by a Sessions Court against Reverend Prasanna Kumar Samuel under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012. He is the Bishop of Church of South India (CSI) Karnataka Central Diocese, Bengaluru.The case was registered in 2015 under Sections 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the...

The Karnataka High Court recently quashed the proceedings initiated by a Sessions Court against Reverend Prasanna Kumar Samuel under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012. He is the Bishop of Church of South India (CSI) Karnataka Central Diocese, Bengaluru.

The case was registered in 2015 under Sections 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (Criminal Intimidation ), 354 (Outraging modesty of a woman), 34 of IPC and Sections 8 (Sexual Assault), 9(f) (Sexual assault on a child by management/ staff of educational/ religious institution) and 10 (Aggravated sexual assault) of POCSO Act.

A single judge bench of Justice Hemant Chandangoudar while setting aside the summons, said, "The charge sheet material does not disclose that the petitioner has committed the aforesaid offences and also the Investigating Officer has specifically stated before this court on 19.11.2019 there is no material available against the petitioner. However, learned magistrate without perusing the charge sheet material, without application of mind, has issued the summons and the same is impermissible and is an abuse of process of law."

As per the prosecution case, an FIR was registered on January 10, 2015, against the petitioner and four other accused. The police after investigation submitted the charge sheet against 4 others before the Magistrate on 11.2.2016. However, the petitioner was left out from the charge sheet since there was no material against him.

After the committal, the Sessions Judge took cognizance of the aforesaid offences against the four other accused. Following which the Public Prosecutor on behalf of the Investigation Officer filed an application under Section 190 of CrPC read with Section 33 of POCSO Act, alleging that there are specific allegations of overt act against the petitioner and also in the statement of the victim girt recorded by the Magistrate under Section 164 of CrPC and despite the same, the police have not filed the charge sheet against the petitioner.

The Sessions Court vide its order dated 12.12.2017 issued summons to the petitioner. It was submitted on behalf of the petitioner that the application is not maintainable and as such the issuance of the summons to the petitioner by the Sessions Judge is impermissible.

Further, it was said that in the absence of any material, the Sessions Judge without application of mind has issued summons to the petitioner and the same is not sustainable in the law.

The court said, "The learned Magistrate without considering the material on record has issued notice to the petitioner. The charge sheet material does not disclose that the petitioner has committed the aforesaid offences and also the Investigating Officer has specifically stated before this Court on 19.11.2019 there are no material available against the petitioner."

Accordingly it allowed the petition.

Case Title: RT Rev Prasanna Kumar Samuel v State of Karnataka & others

Case No: WP 5923/2018

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 210

Date of Order: May 25, 2022

Appearance: Advocate Arun B M for petitioner; HCGP S. VISHNAMURTHY, FOR R1 AND R2; Advocate K.V. MUTHUKUMAR, FOR IMPLEADING APPLICANT; Advocate CHETHAN DESAI, ADVOCATE FOR IMPLEADING APPLICANT

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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