July 30, 2015 2:53:11 am
A lower court judge’s reasoning behind denial of bail to a Muslim youth, accused of molesting a Hindu woman, has earned the wrath of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which now wants the bail order placed before the Chief Justice of High Court “for suitable directions”.
In his order on June 20, Alirajpur Additional Sessions Judge J L Rathore had observed that the “(molestation) accused knew that the victim is a Hindu and does not belong to his religion. Despite being a Muslim he has indulged in the act of sexual harassment. This act has the potential to increase communalism (sampradayikta)’’.
The Muslim youth, a minor student, was arrested on June 24 after he allegedly caught hold of a woman, dragged her to a computer centre and tried to molest her, as per the complaint filed against him.
Challenging the lower court’s order, advocate Zishan Ali submitted before the high court that the judge invoked a communal reason that was not part of the chargesheet. Ali argued that there was no allegation under Section 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) of the IPC, and prayed that “serious action should be taken against the judge because due to the extraneous ground taken by him the applicant suffered unlawful detention while he was otherwise entitled to be released on bail”.
In his July 27 order, Justice Alok Verma said the lower court judge used “extraneous grounds for rejecting the application, especially in the view of the statement of the victim under Section 164 of CrPC. This appears to be unreasonable and undesirable on the part of the judge to use such language and such ground while rejecting the application.’’
While seeking bail for the accused, Ali had brought to the court’s attention the victim’s statement, recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC, where she resiled from her earlier statement under Section 161 of the CrPC. Without commenting on the merit of the case, Justice Verma said he was allowing the bail application by taking into consideration material available before the court.
The judge also asked his office to send copies of both orders to the Registrar-cum-PPS of the high court with a request to place them before the chief justice for suitable directions.
The applicant was ordered to furnish a personal bond of Rs 30,000 and asked to comply with the conditions enumerated under Section 437 of the CrPC.
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