A 65-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting a minor in 2019 was granted bail on Thursday for taking treatment outside jail, after suffering from multiple health conditions.
A single bench of the High Court of Manipur justice MV Muralidaran gave the order to grant bail to the accused in connection with the Special Trial (POCSO) Case No.1/2020/29/2020 on the file of the Fast Track Special Court No.1, Manipur. The accused was subjected to furnish a personal bond of Rs 25,000.
The accused Nongthombam Ramesh Singh, aged about 65 years, son of (Late) N Nodiya Singh of Tera Loukrakpam Leikai, Maibi Leirak, Imphal West now at Sajiwa jail sought bail under Section 439 Cr PC in connection with the case.
Ramesh has been accused of sexually assaulting a minor girl, aged about 9 years inside his cycle repairing shop on February 9, 2019.
A complaint was lodged by the victim’s mother on the same day before the Women Police Station, Imphal West and the police registered the case in FIR No 32 (7) 2019 under Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. After completion of the investigation, a charge sheet for commission of the offence under Section 4 of the POCSO Act was filed against the accused.
On his bail application, the counsel stated that the accused is an aged person and suffering from several health problems had been diagnosed from a long period. It was stated that the doctor who treated him in the jail recommended treatment for a well equipped hospital outside the jail.
The public prosecutor submitted that the illness of the accused was not an immediate threat to life and it could be cured by proper prescription of medicines, and stated that the trial Court, after considering all these aspects, rightly rejected the bail application of the petitioner. The public prosecutor further prayed for dismissal of the bail application.
According to the accused, he was having abdominal pain, chest pain, back pain, reddish discoloration of urine, palpitation off and on, etc., and stated that there was no facility in Manipur Central Jail Sajiwa for treating him.
In support of his plea, the accused relied on a letter from the senior medical officer, Manipur Central Jail Sajiwa addressed to the superintendent, Manipur Central Jail, Sajiwa .
The Court order mentioned that a doctor attached to the Manipur Central Jail opined that it would be better for the petitioner to take treatment from a well equipped hospital outside jail, as proper treatment could not be given due to COVID-19 related lockdown and non availability of general OPDS, JNIMS.
The observation of the trial court that there was no immediate threat to life cannot be sustained as the opinion of the doctor clearly indicates that the petitioner needs better treatment from a well equipped hospital outside the jail, the court stated.
After examining the submission from counsels and documents, the court opined that it is true that victims of POCSO Act are suffering and facing social stigma, agony and trauma because of the occurrence and could not recover completely from the said heinous incidents. In some of the cases, the minor victims are suffering not only mental trauma, agony, social ostracisation, but also withdrawn from society.
However, considering the accused person’s medical condition confirmed by the medical status report, which shows that the accused suffers from various ailments, the court stated that that the threat to the accused person’s health in the prevailing times of COVID-19 pandemic is real and imminent.
In view of the assurance extended on behalf of the accused that he shall not hamper or tamper with the prosecution witnesses, the court granted bail only on medical grounds for taking better treatment outside jail.
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