Bombay High Court Grants Bail to Stepfather Accused of Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault

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A bail application was filed in a suit for domestic violence and sexual assault. After hearing the parties, the Court passed an order of bail in favour of the applicant.

Brief Facts of the Case 

The complainant married the applicant after the demise of her first husband. After that, she, along with her two daughters from the first marriage, moved in with the applicant. In January 2019, the complainant moved into her mother’s house. On May 2019, the complainant filed a suit against the applicant under the Domestic Violence Act. The current order originates from a bail application submitted by the applicant for offences under Sections 354, 354A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Moreover, under Sections 8, 9(n), and 10 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (“POCSO”).

Complainant’s Contentions

The complainant contends that she moved back to her mother’s house in January 2019. This was due to recurring quarrels and harassment faced by her due to the applicant. In April 2019, the complainant’s younger daughter narrated her ordeal of sexual abuse by the applicant. She reported the same to Bhagwati Mahila Vikas Mandal vide complaint dated 10 February 2019. She also lodged two complaints with the Andheri Police Station under Sections 504 and 506 of the IPC.

In May 2019, the complainant instituted proceedings against the applicant. These complaints were initiated under the Domestic Violence Act. The complaint contained the following “Applicant states that the respondent used to insist her daughter Shamika (elder daughter from first marriage) massage him on his person. She used to ask Toshida (younger daughter from first marriage) to sit on his lap and that he was doing so in front of the applicant though she protested illegalities committed by the respondent.

Respondent’s Contentions

The counsel for the applicant contends that the FIR was filed six months after the alleged incident. The applicant brings to the Court’s attention a letter addressed by the complainant’s elder daughter to the police. The daughter alleges that the complainant tried to push her into prostitution. The respondent contends that because of the contents of the letter, the version put forth by the complainant seems suspicious.

The respondent further submits that the investigation is over. Further, the Court stated that the trial might not begin soon. The respondent requests the Court to grant the applicant bail after imposing proper conditions.

Court’s Observation

The Court accepted the contentions put forth by the counsel for the respondent. The Court observed that the punishment for offences alleged against the complainant might extend from 3 to 5 years. Moreover, the investigation was complete.

Court’s Decision

Based on the observations made, the Court decided to accept the bail application on certain conditions. The Court directed the applicant to execute a PR bond for the sum of Rs. 30,000 with one or more sureties. Due to the pandemic, if the applicant was unable to furnish sureties immediately, he must do so within three months.

The applicant must disclose his permanent residential address and contact details to the Investigating Officer within seven days from his release. The applicant must not tamper with the evidence or contact any person related to the case. In conclusion, the Court finally stated that the observations made were to grant bail. Hence, the Court also said that it must not influence the trial.


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