HC cancels bail granted by trial court to lecturer accused of sexually assaulting minor student

Bengaluru / Karnataka : 19/08/2020 :  A view of High Court of Karnataka  on 19 August 2020.  Photo : V Sreenivasa  Murthy/The Hindu.

Bengaluru / Karnataka : 19/08/2020 : A view of High Court of Karnataka on 19 August 2020. Photo : V Sreenivasa  Murthy/The Hindu.

The High Court of Karnataka has ordered the arrest of a 39-year-old college lecturer accused of sexually assaulting a minor student, while terming as “perverse and capricious” the sessions court’s decision of granting bail to him without giving an opportunity of being heard to the complainant/victim as mandated in law.

The High Court said the trial court ought to have given an opportunity of being heard to the victim/complainant as per Section 439-1A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which mandated issue of notice to complainant/victim when the victim is below 16 years of age.

Even though the victim was above 16 years when the complaint was lodged with the police, the High Court said the victim was only 14 years and 10 months when the sexual assaults took place on her.

Justice H.P. Sandesh passed the order while allowing a petition filed by the victim’s mother. The petitioner had questioned the order passed on August 10, 2021 by an additional district and sessions court at Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district granting bail to accused Gururaj, a native of Raichur district and working in a college in Sullia taluk.

The High Court has also termed as “perverse and capricious” the reasons assigned by the trial court to grant bail. The trial court had said that it was a fit case to grant bail considering the health condition of the accused lecturer’s wife, who is arraigned as accused number two, the threat of losing employment to the accused-lecturer, his family background, and his minor daughter.

The allegations made against the lecturer was that he, with the help of his wife, had taken nude photographs of the victim and subjected her to sexual acts by asking her to come to his house for project work. It was also alleged that he had blackmailed the girl to bring money for not disclosing her photos. The girl had stolen ₹10,000 from her house and had given it to the lecturer. The girl had disclosed these aspects to the parents in front of a medical practitioner when she was taken for medical examination due changes in her behaviour in July 2021.

The High Court has also said that the trial court granted bail in a “hurried manner” on the second day after his arrest by unnecessarily relying on two letters, proof of which was required to be accessed later, produced by the accused-lecturer claiming that “the girl had written letters to him stating that her brother and brother-law had subjected her to sexual acts”.

The High Court said that delay of two years in lodging the complaint cannot be ground to grant bail when there is a specific allegation of threat to life caused by the accused to the victim.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 10:59:45 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-cancels-bail-granted-by-trial-court-to-lecturer-accused-of-sexually-assaulting-minor-student/article38311075.ece