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Women Are Epicenters of Family Life, Deserve Preferential Treatment in Bail Cases: HC

No material against the petitioner to prima facie attract Section 364A, says Justice Krishna

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on June 19, 2024, 12:49:51

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prajwal revanna sexual assault

In a relief to Bhavani Revanna, mother of rape-accused Prajwal Revanna, former member of Parliament, the High Court of Karnataka granted regular anticipatory bail in the case of alleged abduction of one of the victims of her son’s sexual assaults.

Justice Krishna S. Dixit passed the order while allowing Bhavani’s petition seeking anticipatory bail. The court said there is no material against the petitioner to prima facie attract Section 364A (kidnap for ransom and for causing threat of death or hurt) of the Indian Penal Code, as the victim herself, in her statement recorded either before the police or before the judicial magistrate, has not given any such statements against Bhavani.

On the argument of the Special Public Prosecutor of the Special Investigation Team that the SIT needs Bhavani for custodial interrogation and that this version of the SIT has to be accepted at face value, the court said if such a proposition is accepted, “It would strike the death knell for sacrosanct guarantees of freedom and liberty gloriously enacted in the Constitution, they have been progressively construed by the courts.”

The court observed: “Despite vociferous submissions, why the police want custodial interrogation has not been even nearly substantiated and therefore, it cannot be granted, law having heavily loaded against such a claim.”

Referring to the SIT’s arguments claiming that she is not cooperating with the probe and giving misleading answers, the court said she had answered 80 questions so far and “the police cannot insist that an accused should give answers in the way as the police desire”.

On the SIT’s claim that she, being the mother of Prajwal, failed to prevent her son from sexually abusing several women, the court said the SIT has not shown by turning the pages of the statute book or by citing rulings of the courts, that what duty a mother owes in law to prevent her major children from committing offences.

The court, on the contention of the SIT that Bhavani belongs to an influential political family, said that in many heinous offences punishable with death or life imprisonment, the apex court has given bail to women accused, and Bhavani being a married woman, having settled family and roots in society, cannot be deprived of invoking power of the court.

“In our social structure, women are the epicentres of family life; their displacement, even for a short period, ordinarily disturbs the dependents. Added to it, they are emotionally attached to the family.

Therefore, investigating agencies should be very cautious while seeking their custodial interrogation. Women by their very nature deserve preferential treatment inter alia in matters relating to bail, regular or anticipatory,” the court observed.

Justice Dixit orally appealed to the media to exercise restraint while reporting on cases involving women, as it relates to the health of societal structure. A “media trial” could make people jump to conclusions about the alleged guilt of the accused, he said.

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