Court rejects bail plea of accused in JNU scholar abduction case
A JNU research scholar from Thongju was allegedly abducted on December 12 and a case was filed against it at the Singjamei Police station.
Updated on 8 Jan 2022, 11:57 am
(Representational Image: Unsplash)
Sessions Judge, Imphal West on Friday rejected the anticipatory bail plea filed by the accused in connection with the alleged abduction of a JNU research scholar from Thongju on December 12.
As per the case dossier, the victim was brought back by the accused person's family to her paternal home after an alleged elopement.
However, upon reaching her home, the victim revealed to her family that she did not consent to the elopement and was instead confined by the accused, identified as one RK Master, son of RK Sanajaoba of Mayang Imphal Konchak and his family.
The victim also made a written complaint to Singjamei Police Station in this regard, wherein she alleged that the accused lured her out on the pretext of having lunch and then kept her confined in his house.
One Amom Soman, son of Amom Ibungo and Ningthemcha Ningol Moirangthem Ongbi Landhoni, wife of Mohen of the same locality has also been alleged of assisting the accused in physically assaulting her and threatening her with ‘Keina Katpa’ (forced marriage) and rape.
The Singjamei Police station registered a case against the trio under Section 366, 342, 354, 34, and 511, 376 of IPC.
The Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) submitted before the court that on examining the bail report and statement of the complainant and other witnesses, it is clear that the alleged elopement of the complainant with RK Master was without her free consent, and it was forceful with the threat of rape and her life. It was submitted that the complainant narrated how all the petitioners tortured her during the fateful night of December 12-13.
It was further submitted that all the petitioners were in connivance with each other in the alleged forceful elopement. It was pointed out that the parents of RK Master did not cooperate with the family of the complainant when they came to their house to search for her.
Pointing out that the crime against the woman was committed on the sacred ‘Nupilal Day’, the additional public prosecutor prayed for rejecting the bail applications, so as to send a clear message to all.
It was also alleged that the accused persons have been spreading false and defamatory statements regarding the complainant in the public domain by conducting press conferences and thereby trying to influence the investigation. Further submitting that the accused persons are likely to interfere in the investigation, it was prayed that the bail applications may be rejected.
The court observed that the three accused persons filed petitions by stating that they are appointing three more advocates to assist the present counsel to defend the case, and they have prayed for deferring the date of pronouncement of bail orders.
The prayer for deferment of pronouncement of the order was rejected as no new ground or circumstances have been brought on record to warrant the rehearing of the bail applications.
“It is clear that male and female have known each other since they met in Delhi. RK Master asserts that he is in a love relationship with the complainant which is denied by her as a brother-sister relationship. No material is placed on record by RK Master to show some glimpse of the so-called love affairs,” the court stated.
On the other hand, the complainant has mentioned in her statement recorded under Section 164 CrPC that the accused had a love affair with one girl in Delhi and the complainant has her own boyfriend. She stated that she agreed to RK Master’s proposal of lunch for extending support to his family in the moment of grief. After lunch, they forced her for elopement without her consent, as per the complainant. In the struggle, she also suffered a minor injury and her clothes were torn. The medical report indicates the injuries. The complexity of the three accused in the present case is quite evident from the statement of the complainant, the court observed.
The court asserted in its judgment that to make certain observations in connection with this case. It is guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India to every citizen to express a free opinion in any matter subject to certain reasonable restrictions as provided under Article 19(2) namely, security of the State, public order, morality, contempt of court, defamation and integrity of the nation. Expressing one’s anguish to the rising crime against women and children is understandable.
However, if it tends to interfere or influence the police investigation and decision of the court, it is no longer within the protective prism of Article 19(1). This distinction, however fine, has to be kept in mind. Otherwise, it may become causing interference in the administration of criminal justice which falls within the definition of criminal contempt of court.
The court also pointed out that both sides of the accused and victim are extensively using the media- print, electronic and social and civil organisations to tilt the case in their favor while the police are in active investigation of the case and bail applications are pending before the court.
It was stated that some of the opinions expressed in public domain do not restrict to the condemnation/remorse of the alleged act, but the same try to assert influence on the police investigation and court’s verdict.
Sit-in protests were organised by both sides at various places, including the court’s gate demanding verdicts in their favour. This is an unfortunate development happening in most cases and a threat to the rule of law, the court stated.
It was pointed out that the court’s verdict depends on the materials submitted before it, and it is not all influenced by the various opinions floated in the public domain. The correct procedure is to assist the investigation by recording one’s statement and deposition before the court during the trial so that complete justice can be done in a case, the court added.