Published on: 28 August 2023 at 16:05 IST
The Kerala High Court has approved the bail of a 77-year-old individual accused of engaging in inappropriate actions, including kissing and touching a minor girl.
The Court’s decision was influenced by the age of the accused, noting that the possibility of genuine fatherly affection couldn’t be disregarded.
Justice Ziyad Rahman A.A. of the bench conveyed, “…upon reviewing the statement’s contents, there arises some uncertainty regarding whether the petitioner’s actions were driven by any sexual intent. While addressing this matter, the fact that the petitioner is a 77-year-old person holds significance, as the potential for authentic fatherly affection cannot be entirely dismissed. This is a subject to be investigated and substantiated, and I am not attempting to pass judgment on this issue. Nevertheless, considering the shadow of doubt about the petitioner’s intent, a lenient perspective is necessary.”
Additionally, in granting bail, the bench highlighted that the petitioner’s age of 77 years minimized any likelihood of him evading legal proceedings under such circumstances.
The petitioner was represented by Advocate S. Nikhil Sankar, while Senior Public Prosecutor Seetha represented the respondent.
The case revolved around a petition filed under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, seeking regular bail for the accused.
As per the allegations, the petitioner had purportedly solicited a kiss from the victim, which she obliged, and it was further claimed that he touched her inappropriately.
Consequently, the petitioner faced charges under Sections 354 and 354A(1)(ii) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as Sections 8 and 7, 10 read with Sections 9(m) and 9(n) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The petitioner had been arrested for the same offense on July 29, 2023, and had remained in judicial custody since then.
Taking into consideration that continued detention of the petitioner was “absolutely not necessary,” the Court ordered his release on bail, subject to appropriate conditions.