In its recent judgment, the Karnataka High Court declined to grant bail to an accused who was alleged for Sexual Harassment of a minor student, and the accused happens to be a teacher by profession.
Facts of the case-
The grandfather of the victim filed a complaint that after the victim completed her SSLC at Karnataka Public School, thereafter he had tried to admit the victim to PUC for her further studies.
The victim was also provided with a mobile phone for facilitating her online classes. Two months back, by chance, the aunt of the victim seen and noticed that the accused being the teacher of the victim, was chatting with her.
So, the grandfather and the aunt of the victim enquired about the same. On such inquiry, the victim revealed that the accused being the teacher of Kannada of Karnataka public school, got familiar with her when she had joined the 10th standard.
She further revealed that as she was good at studies, the accused used to talk to her closely. The victim also disclosed that the accused told her that he loves her and that he used to kiss her lips and touch her chest as well as private parts.
The victim also disclosed that when the accused visited their homes three times, even at that time, he touched all her parts as well as got removed her clothes and that the accused used to do whats app messages along with video calls.
She also told that the accused instructed her not to disclose anything to anybody and also threatened to face dire consequences if she disclosed the same to anybody. Therefore the grandfather of the victim filed a complaint against the accused i.e. the teacher of the victim.
Contentions of the petitioner/accused
The accused contended that the POCSO Act was not applicable here because as per the contents of the complaint, the victim was 18 years one month of age
He also argued that the complaint had not been filed by the victim but by her grandfather.
It was also submitted that the accused was a good teacher. Therefore, these allegations were made due to a political motive for destroying his reputation and that the allegations made were vague in nature.
Contentions of the respondent
The victim argued that the alleged incident took place two years ago and at that time, she was a minor aged about 16 years. Therefore, the provisions of the POCSO Act would be applicable in the present case.
He further contended that the investigation was in progress and if the accused was to be released on bail, it may become difficult to recover the mobile phone and other documents related to the case.
The petition should not be dismissed as the petitioner was alleged to be involved in a serious offense of sexual assault on a minor.
Observations of the Court
The Court observed that “it is a well-settled proposition of law that anybody can set the criminal law in motion and it is not necessary that the victim herself has to file the complaint.”
Further, the High Court observed that the accused has produced no material to prove that the complaint was filed at the instigation of his colleague to destroy his reputation. The accused could not prove why the grandfather and the victim were stating against him.
The court further stated that “No woman will come forward and say that a particular person has touched her private part and other parts of the body and has also made her nude.”
Based on these observations, the court found no ground to release the petitioner on bail and therefore, dismissed the petition.
Title of the Case- Sri Gangaraju M vs State of Karnataka
Date of the order- 2nd November 2020
Coram- Hon’ble Mr. Justice B.A. Patil
Appearances- Sri S venugopala advocate for the petitioner,
Sri Mahesh Shetty HGCP for the Respondent
Story by Rohit Mathur-Intern