Kerala HC Restrains Rape Accused From Using Social Media During Bail

In a Recent order of Kerala High Court on 17th September 2020, the Court granted bail to a Rape accused on the condition that he will not access social media during the pendency of the trial.

Brief Facts of the case Muhammed Shifas vs the State of Kerala are as follows:

The petitioner, in this case, is facing trial for offences under Sections 370, 376, 376(2) (n), 509, 506 IPC and also under various sections of the POCSO Act, 2012. 

The prosecution has stated that the accused took the victim to a resort on 22.12.2018 and then raped her. It is also alleged that he captured various nude photographs of the victim and told the victim that he would circulate them on the internet if she approached the authorities or told anyone about the heinous crime committed by him.

As per the account of the prosecution, the accused raped the victim at least six times on different occasions by threatening her that he will leak the photographs.

It was also alleged that the petitioner created a fake profile on Facebook under the name of ‘Rilsila Richus’ and posted photographs of the victim on the account. As per the victim, the accused demanded a sum of Rs. 100000 to remove the photographs.

The accused was taken into custody on 23.08.2020.

Arguments on behalf of the Accused

  1. The counsel for the accused contended that all the allegations made against the accused are false.
  2. They have also stated that the victim and the accused were in love and their families also fixed their marriage, but the victim backed out of the marriage due to some reason.
  3. The counsel also pointed out that the alleged crime took place on 22.12.2018, but the victim gave her statement only on 14.8.2020. So, there was a considerable gap between the testimony of the victim and the date of crime.
  4. The counsel informed the Court that the accused is ready to marry the victim even now.

Arguments Raised by the Public Prosecutor

  1. Prosecutor vehemently opposed the bail application and urged the Court to dismiss it.
  2. The counsel argued that this was not just a case of rape, but it violated sections of the I.T Act as well because the accused took nude photographs of the victim and threatened to circulate them as well.

The reasoning of the Court

The Kerala High Court, while considering the bail application noted the fact the victim had herself admitted that she and the accused were in love. It was also noted that the accused was only 23 years old and had his whole life in front of him.

The main grievance as per the victim’s account was that the accused had circulated her photos and might do it again.

The decision of the Court 

The Court referred to section 439 (1) (a) of Cr.Pc that deals with conditions that can be imposed in case of bail and directed that bail be granted to the accused, but he should not use social media platforms like Facebook, twitter etc. during the pendency of the trial.

The Hon’ble Judge also stated that “the bail is the rule and the jail is the exception”.

The Court also noted that due to the Covid-19 pandemic a there was a need to minimize the number of inmates in jail as per “Contagion of COVID19 Virus In Prisons case (Suo Motu Writ Petition(C) No.1 of 2020)” where the Hon’ble Supreme Court passed an order t that effect.

Case Details:-

Title: Muhammed Shifas vs the State of Kerala

Case Number: Crime No.1017/2020

Quorum: Hon’ble Judge P.V Kunhikrishnan

Appearance:- Mr K. I Abdul Rasheed for the petitioner and Mr. Ajit Murali, for the respondents.

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