DEEPAK PRAKASH SINGH v. STATE OF U.P & ANR.
Date of Order:
13th OCTOBER 2023
HON’BLE JUSTICE SHEKHER KUMAR YADAV
APPLICANT: DEEPAK PRAKASH SINGH
RESPONDENT: STATE OF U.P & ANR.
SUBJECT: The application for anticipatory bail made by the accused in response to charges under Sections 354, 376 IPC, Sections 7/8 of the POCSO Act, and Section 3(2) (Va) of the SC/ST Act is the subject of the case. The defence attorney for the accused claims that despite the bar described in Section 438(6) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the application should not be deemed to be unmaintainable. They emphasise the POCSO Act's application of the procedure even more by comparing the two Acts' analyses. Additionally, the attorney bases his claim for the maintainability of the anticipatory bail application on earlier decisions and cases.
- Sections 354, 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC): Pertaining to the offenses of molestation and rape.
- Section 7/8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act): Concerning sexual offenses against children.
- Section 3(2)(Va) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC/ST Act): Addressing offenses against individuals belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
- Section 438(6) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C): Regarding the provisions for anticipatory bail.
- Sections 161 and 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C): Dealing with the recording of statements during the investigation process.
OVERVIEW: In this case, a criminal miscellaneous anticipatory bail application was submitted by the defendant. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC/ST Act), the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act), and other serious sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) are all implicated in the case. The arguments primarily centre on whether the anticipatory bail application can be maintained in light of the applicable laws and prior court rulings.
1. According to the FIR, the accused, who is allegedly a teacher, is accused of molesting and raping a young mentally challenged girl.
2. The initial FIR was filed in accordance with Sections 354 IPC, 7/8 POCSO Act, and 3(2)(Va) SC/ST Act. Based on the victim's statements that were later recorded under Sections 161 and 164 Cr.P.C., Section 376 IPC was added.
3. The defence points to a rivalry between the accused and the victim's family as evidence that the accused is innocent and has been wrongfully accused.
4. The victim's statements made pursuant to Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code support the prosecution's case by highlighting the seriousness of the allegations in light of the victim's youth and mental state.
5. The prosecution emphasises that the legal definition of rape is not solely dependent on medical findings, while the defence argues that there is no conclusive medical evidence to support the allegations of rape.
6. The anticipatory bail application under Section 438 Cr.P.C. is ultimately denied by the court, which takes into account the gravity of the accusations and the defendant's position as a teacher.
ISSUES RAISED: Whether the bar imposed by Section 438(6) of the Cr.P.C. on the anticipatory bail application is applicable in cases involving both offenses under the POCSO Act and the SC/ST Act, considering the precedence of legal provisions and court judgments?
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT:
- A comparison of the POCSO Act and the SC/ST Act indicates that, in situations involving offences under both statutes, the POCSO Act's process should be followed.
- A reference is made to the ruling in Prithvi Raj Chauhan vs. Union of India and others (2020) 4 SCC 727, which established that anticipatory bail is not prohibited even for offences under the SC/ST Act if the FIR's allegations appear to be erroneous and untrue.
- It is asserted that when an offence under the POCSO Act is alleged along with provisions of the SC/ST Act, the provisions of the POCSO Act take precedence over the provisions of the SC/ST Act, citing the case of Rinku v. State of UP.
- The attorney also emphasises the rule that states that when two special statutes contain non-obstante clauses, the later statute should take precedence. This rule was established in the case of Sharat Babu Digumarti vs. Govt. of NCT of Delhi (2017) (1) PLJR (SC) 382.
- It is asserted that the objection regarding the maintainability of the anticipatory bail application is unpersuasive because the Special Court established by the POCSO Act has jurisdiction over the matter.
- Under Sections 161 and 164 of the Cr.P.C., the defence highlights the absence of convincing evidence linking the accused to the alleged crime and the discrepancies between the FIR and the victim's statements.
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT:
- The respondent emphasises the victim's testimony provided under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which strengthens the prosecution's case and shows that the charges are credible.
- To further emphasise the gravity of the allegations, it is claimed that the victim, a minor with a mental disability, was unable to speak and needed a special educator's help to record her statement.
- The respondent argues that the absence of injuries does not rule out the possibility that the victim was the victim of rape, stressing that the determination of rape is a legal conclusion and is not solely dependent on medical findings, even though the medical report may not conclusively support the allegation of rape.
- The defence claims that because the accused is a teacher, the alleged misconduct is even more abhorrent because teachers are charged with raising and educating students, and any wrongdoing should not go unpunished.
- The respondent emphasises that the application for anticipatory bail should be denied in light of the seriousness of the crime, particularly the rape of a young victim from a Scheduled Caste, in order to ensure that the accused is held accountable for their actions.
- The anticipatory bail request made by the accused under Section 438 Cr.P.C. has been denied by the court after taking into account the arguments and the relevant facts.
- The severity and nature of the accusations, including the heinousness of the crime involving a young, mentally challenged girl, and the accused's position as a teacher, appear to have had an impact on the decision.
- The victim's statement, which was documented in accordance with Sections 161 and 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, appears to support the prosecution's case and was taken into consideration by the court.
- The court also emphasises the need for the accused to take responsibility for their actions, taking into account the potential effects of such a crime on how society as a whole views teachers as well as the need to ensure the victim receives justice.
- The court's stance on the seriousness of the accusations and the need to keep the accused from possibly avoiding legal repercussions is indicated by the rejection of the anticipatory bail application.
In conclusion, the court denied the accused's request for anticipatory bail made pursuant to Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Based on the seriousness and nature of the allegations, the victim's testimony supporting the prosecution's case, and the accused's position as a teacher, the decision was made. Given the seriousness of the crime involving a young, mentally challenged girl, the court emphasised the need for the accused to face the legal repercussions of the alleged offence.