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Cr.Mp(M) No.700 Of 2018 vs Unknown on 15 June, 2018

IN THE HIGH COURT OF HIMACHAL PRADESH, SHIMLA
    
Cr.MP(M) No. 700 of 2018 A/w
Cr.MP(M) No.726  732 of 2018
Date of Decision No. 15.06.2018

.

__

 Cr.MP(M) No.700 of 2018
Jagdish Chand                       …….. Petitioner

Versus 
State of Himachal Pradesh                        …..Respondent
Cr.MP(M) No.726 of 2018

Tek  Chand                       …….. Petitioner

Versus 
State of Himachal Pradesh                        …..Respondent

Cr.MP(M) No.732 of 2018
Mahinder                      …….. Petitioner

Versus 

State of Himachal Pradesh                        …..Respondent
__
Coram:

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sandeep Sharma, Judge.
Whether approved for reporting? 1  Yes.

For the petitioner(s):   Mr.   Vijay   Chaudhary,   Mr.   Kulbhushan 
Khajuria   and   Mr.   Divya   Raj   Singh, 
Advocates.

      For the respondent(s): Mr.   S.C.Sharma     Dinesh   Thakur, 
Additional   Advocate   Generals,   with   Mr. 
Amit Kumar, Deputy Advocate General.

__
 Sandeep Sharma, Judge  (oral):

Since all the above captioned bail petitions arise out of 

same FIR, same are being taken up together, for disposal by way of 

this common judgment.

1

Whether the reporters of the local papers may be allowed to see the judgment?

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2. Bail petitioners, named hereinabove, by way of instant 

bail   petitions   filed   under   Section   439   of   the   Code   of   Criminal 

.

Procedure, have prayed for grant of regular bail in case FIR No.103 

of   2017,   dated   26.09.2017,   under   Sections   354­A   and   376­C(3)   of 

IPC and Sections 6 and 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual 

Offences Act, registered at Police Station, Tissa, District Chamba, 

Himachal Pradesh.

3. Sequel  to   order   dated   12.06.2018,   ASI   Hem   Raj,   has 

come   present   alongwith   the   record.   Mr.   Dinesh   Thakur,   learned 

Additional   Advocate   General   has   also   placed   on   record   status 

report, prepared on the basis of the investigation carried out by the 

investigating agency. Record perused and returned.

4. Close scrutiny of the record/status report reveals that 

Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, Chamba, District Chamba, 

Himachal Pradesh and District Child Protection Officer, Chamba, 

District   Chamba,   Himachal   Pradesh,   filed   a   complaint     on 

26.09.2017 before the Superintendent of Police, Chamba, alleging 

therein     sexual   harassment   of   children/inmates   staying   in   Child 

Care   Institution,   Tissa   at   Chilli,   District   Chamba,   Himachal 

Pradesh.   Complainants,   named   hereinabove,   alleged   that   it   has 

come   to   the   notice   of   the   Child   Welfare   Committee   and   District 

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Child Protection Unit that there is apprehension of offences being 

committed by the staff members of Child Care Institution, Tissa at 

.

Chilli, upon the children/inmates staying therein. On the basis of 

aforesaid complaint, FIR detailed hereinabove, came to be lodged 

against   the   present   bail   petitioners   and   other   co­accused.   After 

completion of the investigation, police presented the challan in the 

competent Court of law. Bail petitioners, named hereinabove, are 

behind   the   bars   since   27.9.2017.   Though,   bail   petitioners,   as 

referred above, had approached this Court earlier for grant of bail, 

but subsequently those bail petitions were withdrawn with liberty 

to file afresh at an appropriate stage.

5. Learned counsel representing the bail petitioners, state 

that now bail petitions have been filed in the change circumstances 

because all the prosecutrixes except one have been examined and 

they have not supported the case of the prosecution and as such, 

bail   petitioners   deserve   to   be   enlarged   on   bail.   Initially,   in   the 

statements   recorded   under   section   164   of   the   Code   of   Criminal 

Procedure, five girls, who were residing at Child Care Institution, 

Tissa   at   Chilli,   alleged   that   the   accused/petitioners,   named 

hereinabove, not only behaved indecently with them, but on many 

occasions tried to touch their private parts. One of the prosecutrix 

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also alleged that one of the accused tried to outrage her modesty 

and sexually assault her against her wishes.

.

6. Learned counsel representing the bail petitioners while 

inviting   attention   of   this   Court   to   the   judgment   dated   29.5.2018 

rendered by this Court in Cr.MP(M) No.652 of 2018, filed by one of 

the co­accused, namely Vyaso Ram, contend that this Court taking 

note of the statements made by the prosecutrixes ( five in number) 

before the learned trial Court, released him on bail and as such, 

present bail petitioners also deserve to be enlarged on bail. Learned 

counsel     for   the   petitioners   further   contend   that   in   view   of   the 

statements   made   by   the   prosecutrixes   before   the   learned   trial 

Court, no case is made out against the bail petitioners because all 

the   prosecutrixes   have   resiled   from   their   statements   and   have 

categorically stated before the learned trial Court that none of the 

accused  including  the  present  bail  petitioners  have  ever behaved 

indecently or ever tried to outrage their modesty.

7. Mr.   Dinesh   Thakur,   learned   Additional   Advocate 

General, while fairly admitting the factum with regard to passing of 

the judgment dated 29.5.2018, passed in Cr.MP(M) No.652 of 2018, 

contends that no doubt prosecutrixes in their statements before the 

learned   trial   Court   below   have   not   supported   the   case   of   the 

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prosecution,   but   taking   note   of   the   fact   that   they   all   are   minor 

living   in   child   home,   it   would   be   too   early   to   conclude   that   bail 

.

petitioners would be acquitted of the charges framed against them. 

However,   Mr.   Dinesh   Thakur,   learned   Additional   Advocate 

General, on  the instructions    of the Investigating  Officer, who is 

present   in   Court,   fairly   admitted   that   all   the   prosecutrixes   have 

resiled   from   their   statements   and   have   denied   the   allegations 

contained in the FIR as well as statements recorded under Section 

164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure before the Magistrate.

8.   Learned counsel for the petitioners while specifically 

inviting attention of this Court to order dated 11.4.2018, passed by 

the learned trial Court, contend that since sixth prosecutrix being 

mentally retarded was not able to make statement before the Court, 

her   statement   was   not   recorded.   Learned   counsel   also   invited 

attention   of   this   Court   to   the   opinion   rendered   by   the   Medical 

Board   constituted   by   the   Court,   to   demonstrate   that   sixth 

prosecutrix is suffering from moderate mental retardation (ICD­10 

F71, mental age from 6 to under 9 years) with disability of seventy 

two percent (72%) permanent in nature.

9. Having   carefully   examined   the   statements   made   by 

five prosecutrixes before the trial Court, this Court is persuaded to 

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agree   with   the   contention   raised   by   the   learned   counsel   for   the 

petitioners that no case is made out against the bail petitioners and 

.

other co­accused, named in  the FIR.  Though,  these  prosecutrixes 

were declared hostile, but even in their cross­examination nothing 

material could be elicited and as such, this Court finds considerable 

force   in   the   arguments   of   learned   counsel   representing   the   bail 

petitioners that there is very remote/bleak possibility of conviction 

as far as accused named in the FIR, are concerned.

10. True,   it   is   that   all   the   prosecutrixes   in   their   initial 

statements   recorded   under   Section   164   of   the   Code   of   Criminal 

Procedure before the learned Magistrate, had levelled allegations of 

sexual assault against the bail petitioners, but shockingly in their 

statements   recorded   before   the   learned   trial   Court   they   have 

categorically   stated   that   they   had   not   levelled   any   allegations 

against   the   bail   petitioners,   rather   they   were   compelled   by   the 

Child   Helpline   Chamba   to   file   complaint   against     the   bail 

petitioners   as   well   as   other   co­accused.   During   trial,   when 

prosecutrixes were confronted with their statements made by them 

before the Magistrate under Section 164 Cr.P.C, they categorically 

stated that they had made false statements before the Magistrate, 

on the askance of Child Helpline, Chamba.

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11. Leaving everything aside, medical evidence adduced on 

record, nowhere suggest  sexual assault, if any, committed upon the 

.

prosecutrixes   by the bail petitioners and other co­accused, named 

in the FIR. Since trial is yet to be concluded, aforesaid aspects of 

the matter are to be considered and decided by the learned trial 

Court below on the basis of the entire evidence adduced on record 

by   the   prosecution,   but   having   taken   note   of   the   statements 

admittedly   made   by   prosecutrixes  before  the  learned  trial  Court, 

this Court sees no justification to keep the bail petitioners behind 

the  bars  for indefinite  period,  especially  when they  have  already 

suffered more than 9 months. Moreover, guilt, if any, of the bail 

petitioners   is   yet   to   be   proved,   in   accordance   with   law,   by   the 

prosecution by leading cogent and convincing evidence. There is not 

dispute that this Court taking note of the statements made by the 

prosecutrixes   before   the   trial   Court,   has   already   enlarged   co­

accused   Vyaso   Ram   on  the     bail   vide   judgment   dated   29.5.2018, 

passed in Cr.MP(M) No.652 of 2018.

12. Hon’ble Apex Court in Ranjitsingh Brahmajeetsing  

Sharma   v.   State   of     Maharashtra  (2005)   5   SCC   294,   while 

dealing   with   case   registered   under   Maharashtra   Control   of 

Organised   Crime   Act,   1999   (MCOCA),   which   also   contains 

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stringent provisions, has categorically held that if the Court, having 

regard to the materials brought on record, is satisfied   that in all 

.

probability he may not be ultimately convicted, an order granting 

bail may be passed. It has been held as under: 

“38.     We   are   furthermore   of   the   opinion   that   the 
restrictions   on   the   power   of   the   Court   to   grant   bail 
should   not   be   pushed   too   far.   If   the   Court,   having 
regard to the material s brought on record, is satisfied 
that   in   all   probability   he   may   not   be   ultimately 

convicted,   an  order  granting bail  may  be passed.  The 
satisfaction of the Court as regards his likelihood of not 
committing an offence while on bail must be construed 
to mean an offence under the Act and not any offence 

whatsoever be it a minor or major offence. If such an 
expansive   meaning   is   given,   even   likelihood   of 

commission   of   an   offence   under   Section   279   of   the 
Indian Penal Code may debar the Court from releasing 
the accused on bail. A statute, it is trite, should not be 
interpreted   in   such   a   manner   as   would   lead   to 

absurdity. What would further be necessary on the part 
of the Court is to see the culpability of the accused and 
his   involvement   in   the   commission   of   an   organised 
crime   either   directly   or   indirectly.   The   Court   at   the 

time   of   considering   the   application   for   grant   of   bail 
shall consider the question from the angle as to whether 

he was possessed of the requisite mens rea. Every little 
omission or commission, negligence or dereliction may 
not lead to a possibility of his having culpability in the 
matter which is not the sine qua non for attracting the 

provisions   of   MCOCA.   A   person   in   a   given   situation 
may   not   do   that   which   he   ought   to   have   done.   The 
Court may in a situation of this nature keep in mind 
the broad principles of law that some acts of omission 
and   commission   on   the   part   of   a   public   servant   may 
attract disciplinary proceedings but may not attract a 
penal provision.”

13 Recently,   the   Hon’ble   Apex   Court   in   Criminal 

Appeal   No.   227/2018,  Dataram   Singh  vs.  State   of   Uttar 

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Pradesh  Anr decided on 6.2.2018 has  held that freedom of an 

individual cannot be curtailed for indefinite period,  especially when 

.

his guilt has not been proved. It has further held by the Hon’ble 

Apex Court in the aforesaid judgment that a person is believed to 

be innocent until found guilty. The Hon’ble Apex Court has held as 

under:­

2.   A   fundamental   postulate   of   criminal  
jurisprudence   is   the   presumption   of   innocence,  
meaning   thereby   that   a   person   is   believed   to   be  
innocent   until   found   guilty.   However,   there   are  
instances in our criminal law where a reverse onus  

has been placed on an accused with regard to some  

specific   offences   but   that   is   another   matter   and  
does not detract from the fundamental postulate in  
respect   of   other   offences.   Yet   another   important  
facet   of   our   criminal   jurisprudence   is   that   the  

grant   of   bail   is   the   general   rule   and   putting   a  
person in jail or in a prison or in a correction home  
(whichever   expression   one   may   wish   to   use)   is   an  
exception.   Unfortunately,   some   of   these   basic  

principles appear to have been lost sight of with the  
result   that   more   and   more   persons   are   being  

incarcerated and for longer periods. This does not  
do any good to our criminal jurisprudence or to our  
society.

14. By now it is well settled that gravity alone cannot be 

decisive ground to deny bail, rather competing factors are required 

to be balanced by the court while exercising its discretion. It has 

been repeatedly held by the Hon’ble Apex Court that object of bail is 

to   secure   the   appearance   of   the   accused   person   at   his   trial   by 

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reasonable amount of bail. The object of bail is neither punitive nor 

preventative.  The Hon’ble Apex Court in Sanjay Chandra versus  

.

Central Bureau of Investigation  (2012)1 Supreme Court Cases 

49; wherein it has been held as under:­

” The object of bail is to secure the appearance of  

the   accused   person   at   his   trial   by   reasonable  

amount   of   bail.   The   object   of   bail   is   neither  

punitive nor preventative. Deprivation of liberty  

must be considered a punishment, unless it can  

be required to ensure that an accused person will  

stand his trial when called upon. The Courts owe  

more   than   verbal   respect   to   the   principle   that  

punishment   begins   after   conviction,   and   that  

every   man   is   deemed   to   be   innocent   until   duly  

tried and duly found guilty. Detention in custody  

pending completion of trial could be a cause of  

great   hardship.   From   time   to   time,   necessity  

demands   that   some   unconvicted   persons   should  

be held in custody pending trial to secure  their  

attendance   at   the   trial   but   in   such   cases,  

“necessity”   is   the   operative   test.   In   India   ,   it  

would   be   quite   contrary   to   the   concept   of  

personal   liberty   enshrined   in   the   Constitution  

that any person should be punished in respect of  

any   matter,   upon   which,   he   has   not   been  

convicted or that in any circumstances, he should  

be deprived of his liberty upon only the belief that  

he   will   tamper   with   the   witnesses     if   left   at  

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liberty,   save   in   the   most   extraordinary  

circumstances.   Apart   from   the   question   of  

prevention being the object of refusal of bail, one  

.

must   not   lose   sight     of   the   fact   that   any  

imprisonment before conviction has a substantial  

punitive   content   and   it   would   be   improper   for  

any court to refuse bail as a mark of disapproval  

of former conduct whether the accused has been  

convicted   for   it   or   not   or   to   refuse   bail   to   an  

unconvicted person for the propose of giving him  

a taste of imprisonment as a lesson.”

15.

In    Manoranjana   Sinh   Alias   Gupta  versus  CBI 

2017 (5) SCC 218, The Hon’ble Apex Court has held as under:­

”   This   Court   in   Sanjay   Chandra   v.   CBI,   also  
involving     an   economic   offence   of   formidable  

magnitude, while dealing with the issue of grant  
of   bail,   had   observed   that   deprivation   of   liberty  
must   be   considered   a   punishment   unless   it   is  

required to ensure that an accused person would  
stand   his   trial   when   called   upon   and   that   the  

courts   owe   more   than   verbal   respect   to   the  
principle that punishment begins after conviction  
and that every man is deemed to be innocent until  

duly   tried   and   found   guilty.     It   was   underlined  
that   the   object   of   bail   is   neither   punitive   or  
preventive.  This Court sounded a caveat that any  
imprisonment before conviction has a substantial  
punitive content and it would be improper for any  
court to refuse bail as a mark of disapproval of a  
conduct   whether   an   accused   has   been   convicted  
for   it   or   not   or  to  refuse   bail   to   an   unconvicted  
person   for   the   purpose   of   giving   him   to   taste   of  
imprisonment as a lesson. It was enunciated that  
since the jurisdiction to grant bail to an accused  
pending   trial   or   in   appeal   against   conviction   is  

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discretionary in nature, it has to be exercised with  
care ad caution by balancing the valuable right of  
liberty   of   an   individual   and   the   interest   of   the  
society   in   general.     It   was   elucidated   that   the  

.

seriousness  of the charge, is no doubt  one of the  

relevant   considerations   while   examining   the  
application of bail but it was not only the test or  
the   factor   and   the   grant   or   denial   of   such  
privilege,   is   regulated   to   a   large   extent   by   the  

facts and circumstances of each particular case.  
That detention in custody of under trial prisoners  
for   an   indefinite   period   would   amount   to  
violation   of  
Article   21   of   the   Constitution   was  

highlighted.” 

16. Needless   to   say   object   of   the   bail   is   to   secure   the 

attendance   of   the   accused   in   the   trial   and   the   proper   test   to   be 

applied   in   the   solution   of   the   question   whether   bail   should   be 

granted   or   refused   is   whether   it   is   probable   that   the   party   will 

appear to take his trial.  Otherwise, bail is not to be withheld as a 

punishment.    Otherwise also, normal rule is  of bail and not jail. 

Court has to keep in mind nature of accusations, nature of evidence 

in support thereof, severity of the punishment which conviction will 

entail, character of the accused, circumstances which are peculiar 

to the accused involved in that crime. 

17. The Hon’ble Apex Court in Prasanta Kumar Sarkar  

v.   Ashis   Chatterjee   and   Another  (2010)   14  SCC   496,   has   laid 

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down the following  principles  to be kept  in mind,  while  deciding 

petition for bail:

.

(i) whether   there   is   any   prima   facie   or 

reasonable ground to believe that the accused 
had committed the offence; 

(ii) nature and gravity of the accusation;

(iii)   severity   of   the   punishment   in   the   event   of 
conviction; 

(iv) danger of the accused absconding or fleeing, if 
released on bail; 

(v) character,   behaviour,   means,   position   and 
standing of the accused; 

(vi) likelihood of the offence being repeated; 

(vii) reasonable   apprehension   of   the   witnesses 
being influenced; and 

(viii) danger, of course, of justice being thwarted 
by grant of bail. 

18. Consequently,   in   view   of   the   above,   present   bail 

petitions are allowed. Petitioners are ordered to be enlarged on bail 

subject   to   their   furnishing   personal   bond   in   the   sum   of   Rs. 

1,00,000/­   (Rs.  One   lakh)     with  one   local   surety   each  in   the   like 

amount, to the satisfaction of the learned trial Court, with following 

conditions:  

a. They   shall   make   themselves   available   for   the  
purpose   of   interrogation,   if   so   required   and  

18/06/2018 23:01:15 :::HCHP
14

regularly attend the trial Court on each and every  
date of hearing and if prevented by any reason to  
do   so,   seek   exemption   from   appearance   by   filing  
appropriate application;

.

b. They   shall   not   tamper   with   the   prosecution  
evidence nor hamper the investigation of the case  
in any manner whatsoever;

c. They     shall   not   make   any   inducement,   threat   or  
promises to any person acquainted with the facts  
of the case so as to dissuade them from disclosing  
such facts to the Court or the Police Officer; and

 

d. They shall not leave the territory of India without  
the prior permission of the Court.   

19. It is clarified that if the petitioners misuse their liberty 

or   violates   any   of   the   conditions   imposed   upon   them,   the 

investigating   agency   shall   be   free   to   move   this   Court   for 

cancellation of their  bail.  

20. Any   observations   made   hereinabove   shall   not   be 

construed   to   be   a   reflection   on   the   merits   of   the   case   and   shall 

remain confined to the disposal of these applications alone.  

The bail petitions stand disposed of accordingly.

Copy dasti.  

 (Sandeep Sharma),
   Judge
15th June, 2018
         (shankar)

18/06/2018 23:01:15 :::HCHP

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