Bombay HC refuses bail to 72-yr-old rape accused, ‘victim his great granddaughter’s age, will send wrong signal’

The man has been booked for the rape of a 11-year-old girl.

Observing that a 72-year-old man, booked for the rape of a 11-year-old girl and other offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, is practically of the age of the minor’s great grandfather, and if the charges against him are proved, it will amount to “heinous crime”, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has recently dismissed his bail plea.

A division bench of Justice R V Ghuge and Justice B U Debadwar December 16 passed an order on criminal appeal filed by a resident of Chalisgaon in Jalgaon, seeking his release and challenging the trial court order that denied him bail.

Additional Public Prosecutor P V Diggikar told the court that the FIR was lodged by Jalgaon police on May 26, following which the girl’s statement was recorded as per the Criminal Procedure Code.

As per the complaint, the girl’s parents, who are farm labourers, were not at home when the man made his first attempt of sexually assaulting the minor — his next door neighbour — on May 23. He did the same the next day as well. On May 25 afternoon, again finding the girl alone at home, he entered her house. But the girl started screaming and called out to her aunt, resulting in the man fleeing to his house, Diggikar added.

The bench observed, “We have gone through the statement of the victim, which is quite explicit and being a girl of a tender age of only 11 years, she has narrated all events in detail when she was interrogated by the police. If the offence is proved, it would amount to a heinous crime. The appellant is a nearly 70 years old man and the victim, going by the social pattern of villages, is practically of the age of his great granddaughter.”

Dismissing the bail plea, the court noted, “Taking into account the factors recorded and in view of the fact that the trial in the matter would commence, setting the appellant at liberty would send a wrong signal, in as much as, the victim is likely to be terrorized if the appellant was to roam around free.”

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