24 March 2022 3:50 AM GMT
The Rajasthan High Court has granted bail to judicial officer Jitendra Singh Guliya and two judicial clerks. All the three accused are in custody for the offences punishable under section 377/34 of I.P.C. and 5/6 of P.O.C.S.O. Act. Last year, the Rajasthan High Court suspended Jitendra Singh Guliya, with immediate effect pending preliminary enquiry and contemplated departmental...
The Rajasthan High Court has granted bail to judicial officer Jitendra Singh Guliya and two judicial clerks. All the three accused are in custody for the offences punishable under section 377/34 of I.P.C. and 5/6 of P.O.C.S.O. Act.
Last year, the Rajasthan High Court suspended Jitendra Singh Guliya, with immediate effect pending preliminary enquiry and contemplated departmental enquiry. An order to this effect was issued by the High Court's Registrar General, under the direction of the Chief Justice of the High Court. He was posted as Special Judge, Special Court, Prevention of Corruption Act, Bharatpur.
Justice Farjand Ali, while granting bail to the accused persons, observed,
"All the accused persons are government servants out of which one is a Judicial officer and if the pre-conviction detention does not lead to conviction then compensation for such detention whereby tarnishing the reputation of an individual holding a Judicial post will never be compensated. Thus, the detention is not supposed to be punitive or preventive; and for the reasons as noted above this court is of the considered view that since the accused is languishing in judicial custody, his further incarceration would not serve any fruitful purpose."
The court noted that this order relates to criminal prosecution only. The court observed that the High Court in its administrative side, has already initiated an inquiry, as far as maintaining judicial discipline, morality or colourable exercise of power by the judicial officer is concerned. Thus, for the above, the administrative committee will surely exercise authority independent of this order, added the court.
It was opined that the pre-conviction detention is not warranted by law. The primary principle of criminal law is that an imprisonment may follow after a judgment of guilt, but should not precede it, added the court. The court observed that there is also another principle which makes it desirable to ensure that the accused is present to receive his sentence in the event of being found guilty.
Further, it was observed that the object of keeping the person in custody is to ensure his availability to face the trial and to receive the sentence that may be passed. The court noted that neither any apprehension has been shown by the respondent nor any material has been made available from which an inference can be drawn regarding the aforesaid apprehension. The seriousness of the allegations or the availability of the material in respect thereof are not the only considerations for declining the bail, added the court.
In addition, the court observed that the gravity of the offence or the severity of punishment alone is not a factor to be considered while adjudicating the bail plea. There are several other aspects which are required to be considered simultaneously with the gravity of nature i.e. if there is any apprehension that if the accused will be released on bail, he would hamper the prosecution evidence or would flee from justice or would not be readily available for the trial or otherwise hamper the course of smooth trial, the court also opined.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that statements of elder brother "K" are very relevant as his younger brother had never complained that the petitioner ill treated or he observed any unnatural conduct on his part towards him rather he fortified that they took Rs.20,000/- as loan for Scooty from the petitioner Jitendra. He argued that the allegation that both the accused Rahul & Anshul told the victim to allow them too the same sexual act which their officer used to commit seems to be absurd in view of the fact that nowhere it has come on record as to how Rahul and Anshul came to know about the alleged sexual act. Rahul and Anshul are judicial clerks of the court and are not resident of the same locality, he added.
Moreover, he pointed out that nothing has come in the medical examination report of the alleged child victim which goes on to suggest that the alleged sexual act was committed; no injury marks were found on the body part of the child which definitely negates entirely cooked up story of the complainant. More so, no alleged video came to be found in the investigation, no obscene material has been detected from the mobile of the accused which was seized by the Police, now charge-sheet has been filed, he argued further.
The public prosecutor as well as counsel for the complainant opposed the bail application of the petitioners upon the ground that the offences are of a serious nature and the statements made under 161 and 164 of CrPC, are very much consistent with each other along with the other material on record, therefore, the accused petitioners shall not be released on bail and the same deserved to be dismissed.
The court remarked that observation in this order shall not have any impact at any stage of the trial. The same is observed in respect of the limited issue of granting bail and not otherwise, the court added. The court ordered that the accused-petitioners shall be enlarged on bail provided each of them furnishes a personal bond in the sum of Rs.50,000/- with two sureties of Rs.25,000/- each to the satisfaction of the trial Judge for their appearance before the court.
On 31.01.2021, child victim's mother-complainant filed an FIR, wherein she alleged that her child aged about 14 years, used to play tennis at District club Company where he came into contact with accused Jitendra Guliya who also used to come there for playing tennis. The accused Jitendra Guliya established good acquaintance with her son and coaxed her minor child to accompany him at his residence where he made her son drink some intoxicating substance and thereafter, sexually abused him by committing unnatural sex with him. In the complaint it is alleged that the accused Jitendra Singh had videographed the incident and also threatened her minor son to face dire consequences, if he tells anyone.
As per F.I.R, when the accused came to drop the victim, she saw the accused kissing her son on his lips in the car. After serious persuasion, victim had narrated the entire incident as to how he was being subjected to sexual abuse by the accused persons Jitendra Singh Guliya, Rahul Katara and Anshul Soni, since a month. Later, all the accused along with one police officer P.L Yadav came to her residence and threatened her to allow her son "H" to accompany Guliya for her good, else she would face dire consequences.
The complainant alleged that on the same day in the night accused Jitendra Singh had made a phone call to her; where, it was alleged that he was threatening her however, when she made him know that she was aware of everything about him and after hearing the same, the call was disconnected by the accused. It was asserted by the complainant that, on 30.10.2021 accused persons had admitted their guilt and asked her to forgive them for their wrongful act and further assured that they will not repeat the same in future. And later, it was stated in the F.I.R. that all the accused persons along with the aid of a Police officer P.L. Yadav, conspired to frame the complainant in a false case of extortion.
Case Title: Rahul Katara v. State of Rajasthan
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 107
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment