Delhi HC grants bail to man accused of sexually assaulting daughter

The Delhi High Court has granted bail to a man accused of sexually assaulting his daughter while noting that it cannot shut its eyes to the matrimonial dispute between the girl’s parents and his false implication by “tutoring” cannot be ruled out.

Justice Vikas Mahajan observed the girl has been residing with the mother for more than 4 years and there was an inordinate delay in the registration of the FIR.

It noted there were many cross FIRs from the mother’s as well as the father’s side and “there is not an iota of reference” to the alleged incidents of sexual assault in the earlier complaints by the mother.

“Undisputedly, the allegations are serious, but this court cannot shut its eyes to the fact that there is a matrimonial dispute pending between the victim’s parents…In this factual backdrop, false implication of the petitioner by the complainant by tutoring the minor girl child who is in complainant’s custody, cannot be ruled out,” said the court in a recent order.

“I am prima facie of the view that the above factors have the potential of creating dent in the case of the prosecution,” the court said.

The petitioner father, while seeking bail, told the court there was martial discord between him and his wife, and while the girl aged about 15 years was residing with her mother, a minor son of 10 years was in his care and custody.

He alleged his wife was living with a police officer who was helping her file frivolous and bogus complaints against the petitioner.

The petitioner was arrested on February 21 and sent to judicial custody.

Noting that the incidents alleged occurred in 2019-2022, the complaint was made for the first time only in 2023, the court said that “evidently, there is an inordinate delay in the registration of FIR”.

The court observed the objective of keeping a person in custody is to ensure his availability to face the trial and to receive the sentence that may be awarded and that detention is not supposed to be a punitive or preventive measure.

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The accused cannot be kept in custody for an indefinite period if trial is not likely to be concluded within reasonable time, it said.

In the present case, the court said, the investigation is complete and charge-sheet has been filed but the conclusion of trial was likely to take time.

“In the given circumstances, no useful purpose will be served in keeping the petitioner behind bars…Accordingly, the petitioner is admitted to bail subject to his furnishing a Personal Bond in the sum of Rs.25,000/- and one Surety Bond of the like amount subject to the satisfaction of the Trial Court / Jail Superintendent/Duty Magistrate,” ordered the court.

The court asked the petitioner to not communicate with or establish contact with the alleged victim or witnesses.

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