The Gauhati High Court recently granted bail to a 21-year-old IIT-Guwahati student accused of raping his peer in March. The court noted that while there was a “clear prima facie case” against the accused, both the victim and the accused were “talented students” and the “state’s future assets”.
The 21-year-old BTech student was arrested for “sexually assaulting” his peer, a student at the IIT-Guwahati in the same department, on campus in March.
Hearing a bail application by the accused, Justice Ajit Borthakur said there was a “clear prima facie case as alleged against the accused petitioner.” “However, as the investigation in the case is completed, and both the informant/victim girl and the accused are the state’s future assets, being talented students pursuing technical courses at the I.I.T., Guwahati, who are young in the age group of 19 to 21 years only, and further, they are being hailed from two different states, continuation of detention of the accused in the interest of trial of the case, if charges are framed, may not be necessary,” Borthakur said in the order, dated August 13, 2021.
The judge said that he had given “given anxious considerations” to the submissions made by both sides, with reference to the relevant documents such as “F.I.R., medical report and statements under Sections 161 and 164 Cr.P.C., the contents of the charge-sheet, the Fact Finding Committee Report etc.”
He added that after “perusal of the list of witnesses”, the court found “no possibility of the accused tampering with their evidence or influencing them directly or indirectly, if released on bail.”
Accordingly, the high court granted bail to the accused for Rs 30,000 bond along with two sureties on the conditions that he continues to appear before the court till the case is disposed of, he “directly or indirectly” does not make any “inducement, threat or promise” to any person acquainted with the facts of the case, and that he does not leave the territorial jurisdiction of the court without prior written permission of the judge.
As per the FIR filed by the victim, the accused had “lured” her on the night of March 28 to discuss her role and responsibility in a college club. She alleged that he had made her “unconscious” by “forcibly administering alcohol” and then “raped” her.
The victim was moved to Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) the same night and regained consciousness the next morning. Thereafter, she underwent treatment and forensic examination. She was discharged from GMCH and then shifted to the in-house hospital on campus, where she underwent treatment till April 3. A senior doctor at GMCH had in April told The Indian Express that the patient had arrived in a “serious condition” and it seemed to be a “serious case of sexual assault”. A statement released by IIT-G on April 2 said that a fact-finding committee was formed.
The accused was chargesheeted under Sections 376/328/307/120B of the IPC.
Advocate KN Choudhry, who had appeared for the petitioner, said that the accused was a “brilliant student” and the “investigation has already been completed”. He added that there was “no chance of him jumping the course of justice in any manner” and that further detention may “amount to causing further damage to his brilliant academic pursuit.”
Appearing on behalf of the victim, advocate Sumitra Sama and additional public prosecutor D Das vehemently opposed granting bail “in such a serious offence, which is against the society.” Das said that if bail was granted to the accused, “the trial of the case is certain to be hampered, which may occasion gross injustice to the victim.”