THE HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
(SAJI P.O @ FATHER SEBESTIN Vs THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH)
Jabalpur, Dated : 13-11-2017
Shri Anil Khare, learned senior Advocate with Shri S.P. Dueby,
Advocate for the petitioner.
Shri C.K. Mishra, learned G.A for the respondent/State.
This is the first application under Section 438 of Cr.P.C on
behalf of the petitioner- Saji P.O @ Father Sebestin apprehending
arrest in Crime No. 303/2017 registered at Police Station Saman,
District Rewa for offence under Section 354 of I.P.C read with Section
7/8 of the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
The prosecution case in brief is that the prosecutrix along with
her class mate had gone to the Principal’s room on 30.08.2017 for
requesting to organize a farewell function for the teacher- Smt. Reeta
Agrawal, who was to be retired on the Teachers’ day. Allegedly the
prosecutrix was touched by the Principal with intent to outrage her
modesty and the prosecutrix came out of the room and informed her
mother. They tried to lodge a report. When their report was not
lodged, she made complaint to the Women Help Line on 31.08.2017.
Crime was registered under Sections 354 of I.P.C, read with
Section 7/8 of the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act,
On behalf of the petitioner, it is claimed that no such incident
took place. The prosecutrix was only asked to leave the room
disallowing her application for holding a farewell function. The
proseuctrix was with one of her classmates throughout.
It is also claimed that the CCTV footage of the incident recorded
in the camera placed at the Principal’s room indicates that no such
incident taken place. Though the Principal touched the prosecutrix to
leave the room on her elbow, but it was never intended with any
It is further claimed that the date in the footage has been shown
to be 31st August, 2017 but the actual date is 30th August, 2017.
Affidavit of the service provider Face Finder Security Solution has
been filed in this regard. It is claimed that due to some difficulty in the
battery of the DBR, the date has been wrongly shown as 31.08.2017.
On behalf of the petitioner, it is also claimed that the petitioner
has been serving in the institution from 2011 and there has been no
such allegation of any harassment or any such activity in the past.
Learned G.A appearing for the respondent/State vehemently
opposed the contentions and submitted that the petitioner with sexual
intent touched the abdomen and the hand of the prosecutrix. CCTV
footage produced by the petitioner before the police is yet to be
examined. The date mentioned in the CCTV is 31st August, 2017,
which could be re-creation of the incident with the help of two other
students, who are not the real prosecutrix and her classmate.
Therefore, the same cannot be relied upon.
It is also contended that if the petitioner is enlarged on
anticipatory bail, it would affect the investigation adversely.
Perused the police diary.
On the report of the mother of the prosecutrix, the F.I.R has been
lodged. The mother of the prosecutrix and her classmate have
supported her story. But at this juncture, it may be possible that the
prosecutrix having denied to hold a farewell function of one teacher
who was about to retire on the Teachers’ day might have felt aggrieved
and it might be possible that because of this she was wreaking her
vengeance against the Principal, or there may be other teaching staff,
who might have been instigated the prosecutrix.
The reality of CCTV footage and other proceedings ought to be
examined by the trial Court at the time of trial. It would not be
appropriate to comment anything on the CCTV footage.
At the time of considering an application for anticipatory bail,
the Court must keep in mind that the liberty of a citizen cannot be
jeopardised without the due process of law. Procedure relating to the
bails is mobile and not static. The necessity for granting anticipatory
bail arises mainly because sometimes the influential persons try to
implicate their rivals in false cases for the purposes of disgracing them
in the society or for other purposes, by getting them detained in jail for
sometime. In the recent times, with the accentuation of political
rivalry, this tendency is showing signs of steady increase. Parliament
found that getting the innocent persons arrested in false charges are
neither unknown nor uncommon in many parts of our country. The
Criminal Law which is intended for the benefit of all, was being used
by the influential and the powerful for the ruin of others. Therefore, in
order to suppress that mischief, section 438 of the Code was enacted
by the Parliament.
In this regard, reference can be made to Dharmendra Rao Vs.
State of M.P., 1993 JLJ 476.
Keeping in view that the petitioner who was the Principal of the
school and the offence alleged could be to wreak vengeance, it would
be appropriate to grant anticipatory bail to the petitioner. If the
petitioner is arrested in Crime No. 303/2017 by Police Station Saman,
Rewa, he be released on furnishing bail bond of Rs.50,000/- (Rs. Fifty
Thousand Only) and a surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of
the Arresting Officer subject to condition that:-
(i) The petitioner will not commit any similar offence;
(ii) The petitioner will cooperate with the trial; and
(iii) The petitioner will participate in the trial regularly;
If any of the above conditions is breached, the learned trial
Court would be at liberty to reconsider on the question of bail.
C.C as per rules.
(SUSHIL KUMAR PALO)
Digitally signed by AWINASH
Date: 2017.11.13 18:54:04 +05’30’