(Prayer: This Criminal Petition is filed under Section 439 of Cr.P.C. praying to enlarge the petitioner on bail in Crime No.270/2016 registered by Kadugodi Police and now pending on the file of the II Addl. District and Sessions Judge, Bangalore Rural, in Spl.C.No.219/2016, for the offences punishable under Sections 354(A), 354(B), 376 and 506 of IPC and Sections 6, 10 and 12 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, in the interest of justice.)
Through Physical Hearing / Video Conferencing:
1. Learned counsel for the petitioner and learned High Court Government Pleader for the respondent No.1 are physically present.
2. Heard both side on the petition filed by the petitioner under S.439 of the Cr.P.C. seeking his enlargement on bail in Spl. Case No.219/2016 for the alleged offences punishable under Sections 354(A), 354(B), 376 and 506 of IPC and Sections 6, 10 and 12 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
3. Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that though this is the repetitive bail application filed by the petitioner, but he was constrained to file the same in view of the fact that the trial in the Trial Court is still going on and there is no hope of conclusion of the trial at the earliest. At the same time, he does not forget to mention his earlier submission that the prosecutrix in the case has not supported the case of prosecution.
4. Learned High Court Government Pleader in his statement of objections as well arguments submits that merely because the prosecutrix is stated to have turned hostile, that itself does not overtake the evidentiary value of the other prosecution witnesses supporting the case of prosecution. He submits that though trial was going on, but due to Carona pandemic, from 27.02.2020 onwards the trial could not proceed. The last witness examined was in the pandemic period of Covid-19 i.e. on 26.02.2020.
5. The offences alleged against the petitioner are punishable under Sections 354(A), 354(B), 376 and 506 of IPC and Sections 6, 10 and 12 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The allegation is that the petitioner on the alleged night of the incident had subjected his sister-in-law to repetitive sexual assault despite her protest.
6. Admittedly, the present petition is the third successive bail petition of the petitioner before this Court. On 25.10.2018, this Court while disposing off a similar petition of this petitioner in Crl. P. No.1677/2018, while rejecting the petition had made an observation that the Trial Court was expected to take up the matter on day-to-day basis and to dispose off the matter at the earliest. This Court had expressed in express words that the Trial Court would complete the trial at the earliest.
7. According to the learned counsel for the petitioner, despite such direction given in October, 2018, till February, 2020, the Trial Court did not show much progress in the matter.
8. The said aspect, that despite direction of this Court that the matter has to be taken on day-to-day basis and trial should be completed at the earliest appears to have not been given due respect by the Trial Court. It is really discouraging that despite direction of the superior court for the speedy trial and despite the fact that the accused in judicial custody has got a right of speedy trial, the Trial Court appears to have not given even the minimum respect either to the direction of the Court or to the right of the accused. As such, the attitude of the Trial Court in delaying the trial, may be for any reason, is not acceptable.
9. However, considering the fact that on 26.02.2020, the trial had taken place in the Trial Court wherein PW-13 was examined and thereafter due to lockdown, the trial could not proceed further, the Trial Court is hereby directed to com
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plete the trial and dispose of the matter within three months from the date the normal functioning of the Court in the form of recording of evidence of witnesses, in this Special Case, resumes. However, at the same time, I am of the view that in the absence of any change in the circumstances except the delay in the trial, I do not find any reason for allowing this petition. Accordingly, the petition stands dismissed.