Published on: 7 August 2023 at 12:13 IST
The Kerala High Court has refused anticipatory bail to a college student who was accused of raping her junior after intoxicating her, in Deepak K. Balakrishnan V. State of Kerala.
The accused claimed that they were in a consensual relationship, but the victim, a member of a Scheduled Caste community, alleged that she was forcefully fed a cake and water by the accused, leading to her feeling semi-conscious.
Justice A Badharudheen, taking into account the specific allegations made by the victim, held that a prima facie case under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, was established, thereby barring anticipatory bail.
The accused faced charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including sexual harassment, criminal intimidation, and committing repeated rape on the same woman.
Additionally, as the victim belonged to the Scheduled Caste community, the accused was charged under Section 3(2)(v) of the Act for Punishment for Offences of Atrocities.
The appellant filed an appeal under Section 14A of the Act against the Special Court’s decision to reject their anticipatory bail application.
The bail was denied under the provisions of Section 18 and 18A of the Act.
The appellant’s counsel argued that no prima facie case was established against their client, and thus, the bar for granting anticipatory bail under the SC/ST Act should not apply.
The Court referred to the Supreme Court’s decision in Prathvi Raj Chauhan v Union of India & Ors (2020), emphasizing that anticipatory bail would be allowed if no prima facie case was made out, but if a prima facie case was established under the Act, anticipatory bail would be barred.
In this case, the Court found that a prima facie case was indeed established since the victim did not give her consent for the sexual act. The Court relied on the records and evidence presented, which indicated that the accused forcefully gave the victim a cake and water, leading her to a semi-conscious state, and then subjected her to rape.
The Court upheld the Special Court’s decision to reject the anticipatory bail, as it was clear that the offense of sexual abuse could be foreseen based on the telephonic conversation between the appellant and the victim.
Thus, the Kerala High Court refused anticipatory bail to the accused in this SC/ST Act rape case.