Criminal justice system cannot continue like this: High Court grants bail to man jailed for 77 days on alleged 'false' rape complaint

Pradeepkumar Vs State of Kerala

Kerala HC

23/11/2020

Bail Appl. No. 7754 OF 2020

About/from the judgment:

The High Court on Monday granted bail to a health worker accused of sexually assaulting a woman who had visited him to obtain a COVID-19-Negative certificate.

 

The Health Inspector was accused of committing rape on the woman, on whose complaint a case under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506(i) (criminal intimidation), 376, 376(2)(n), and 376C(b) (rape) of the Indian Penal Code was registered against him.

 

The Court had dismissed the initial bail application filed by the accused, given the seriousness of the allegations.

 

Then, in an unexpected turn of events, the woman submitted a notarised affidavit before the Court stating that the intercourse was consensual and that she was pressured into making the statement by her relatives.

 

Voicing its displeasure at the fact that the woman’s initial statement had resulted in the incarceration of the accused for 77 days, court observed that the Court could not “shut its eye in such situations.”

 

"The criminal justice delivery system cannot go like this. Based on a false complaint, a person is in jail for about 77 days."

 

Ordering an inquiry into the matter, the Court observed that it was surprised by the turnaround.

 

"I am surprised, after reading this affidavit. The registration of the above case was widely covered by the media in the State. Almost all the people in Kerala know about this case..."

 

Stating that a case of this nature would have had a negative impact on the morale of health workers, the Court asked the Director General of Police to conduct an inquiry into the woman’s allegations and submit a report within three months.

 

The order goes on to state,

 

"This should be taken very seriously. Nobody should make such false complaint against a person. The petitioner was working as a Junior Health Inspector. Hundreds and hundreds of health workers are working in the State against the pandemic Covid-19. In such a situation, this particular incident gave a black mark to the health workers in the State."

 

Having made these observations, the Court directed for the immediate release of the accused on bail, on a bond of Rs. 50,000.

Read the Judgment

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