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Manu Joseph v/s State of Kerala, Represented by The Public Prosecutor, High Court of Kerala, Ernakulam & Another


Company & Directors' Information:- JOSEPH AND CO PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U01211KL1954PTC000507

Company & Directors' Information:- E R JOSEPH & CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U28920WB1955PTC022404

Company & Directors' Information:- MANU PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U63022WB1982PTC034539

    Bail Appl. No. 4108 of 2020

    Decided On, 15 July 2020

    At, High Court of Kerala

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P.V. KUNHIKRISHNAN

    For the Petitioner: Sunny Mathew, Advocate. For the Respondents: T.R. Renjith, Public Prosecutor.



Judgment Text


1. This Bail Application filed under Section 438 of Criminal Procedure Code was heard through Video Conference.

2. The petitioner is the accused in Crime No.399 of 2020 of Thirunelly Police Station. The above case is registered against the petitioner and 11 other accused alleging offences punishable under Sections 376(1), 376(2)(n) and 376D of the Indian Penal Code.

3. The prosecution case is that during the month of April, 2019, the defacto complainant was working as a maidservant in the resort of the first accused. At that time, the first accused committed rape on her promising that she would be provided with property and residential house. Thereafter, on two or three occasions, the first accused committed rape on her. It is the case of the defacto complainant that subsequently some of the other accused committed rape on her. Hence she filed Annexure A1 First Information Statement based on which the present case is registered.

4. The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that even if the entire allegations against the petitioner are accepted, no offence under Section 376 IPC is made out. The learned counsel for the petitioner also submitted that the first accused, against whom there are serious allegations, was granted anticipatory bail by this Court. Therefore, the counsel submitted that same relief may be granted to the petitioner also, who is the 9th accused in the case.

5. The learned Public Prosecutor opposed the Bail Application. But, it is conceded that the first accused was released on bail under Section 438 Cr.P.C. But, the learned Public Prosecutor submitted that accused Nos.2 to 8 were arrested. Moreover, the learned Public Prosecutor submitted that serious allegations are there in the F.I.Statement against the petitioner, who is the ninth accused. Therefore, he submitted that he is opposing the Bail Application.

6. After hearing both sides, I think this Bail Application can be allowed. The allegation against the first accused and the ninth accused are one and the same. The allegation against the first accused is that he committed rape on the defacto complainant on three times. The allegation against the petitioner is that he committed rape on the defacto complainant on two times. I do not want to make any comments about the merits of the case. Admittedly the victim is major. Since bail under Section 438 Cr.P.C. is already granted to the first accused, I think this petitioner is also entitled orders under Section 438 Cr.P.C.

7. Moreover, considering the need to follow social distancing norms inside prisons so as to avert the spread of the novel Corona Virus Pandemic, the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Re: Contagion of COVID-19 Virus In Prisons case (Suo Motu Writ Petition(C) No.1 of 2020) and a Full Bench of this Court in W.P(C)No.9400 of 2020 issued various salutary directions for minimizing the number of inmates inside prisons.

8. It is a well accepted principle that the bail is the rule and the jail is the exception. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in Chidambaram. P v Directorate of Enforcement (2019 (16) SCALE 870), after considering all the earlier judgments, observed that, the basic jurisprudence relating to bail remains the same inasmuch as the grant of bail is the rule and refusal is the exception so as to ensure that the accused has the opportunity of securing fair trial.

9. Considering the dictum laid down in the above decision and considering the facts and circumstances of this case, this Bail Application is allowed with the following directions:

(i) The petitioner shall appear before the Investigating Officer within two weeks from today and shall undergo interrogation.

(ii) After interrogation, if the Investigating Officer proposes to arrest the petitioner, he shall be released on bail executing a bond for a sum of Rs.50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand only) with two solvent sureties each for the like sum to the satisfaction of the officer concerned.

(iii) The petitioner shall appear before the Investigating Officer as and when required. The petitioner shall co-operate with the investigation and shall not threaten o

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r attempt to influence the witnesses or tamper with the evidence. (iv) The petitioner shall strictly abide by the various guidelines issued by the State Government and Central Government with respect to keeping of social distancing in the wake of Covid 19 pandemic. (v) If any of the above conditions are violated by the petitioner, the jurisdictional Court can cancel the bail in accordance to law, even though the bail is granted by this Court.
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