–Report by Monishka Allahbadi
Kerala High Court rejected a bail application in MONSON MAVUNKAL V. STATE OF KERALA & ANR considering the gravity of the accusations against him and his criminal record. Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas ruled that the prosecution’s worries that the accused would influence victims and witnesses and tamper with the evidence were justified and that his release on bail could hurt the prosecution’s case.
The prosecution has filed that the victim, in this case, had been raped by the petitioner. The victim who was a staff of the accused was raped on different dates from 11th January 2020 to 24th September 2021 in the house of the petitioner.
The petitioner contended that he has been in custody for a long period of time and the case of rape cannot be prima facie made against him. There can be a possibility of consensual sex. It was further contended that the victim was questioned earlier regarding the petitioner before even registration of the rape case, during which the victim did not mention anything about rape. This conduct shows falsity in the survivor’s case.
The prosecution opposed the bail application by saying that the nature of the offense is serious and that on release, the petitioner can influence the victim as well as witnesses. The witnesses, in this case, are the mother and brother of the victim who was also employees of the petitioner.
The court observed that although the contentions of the petitioner can be appreciated the fact that the petitioner was admittedly involved in several crimes, including three rape instances cannot be ignored. A Trial for raping a minor is already underway. The said minor has also been alleged to be raped even after turning 18, and this crime is connected to the alleged obnoxious behavior. The court found merit in the arguments of the prosecution. The court observed:
“The criminal antecedents of the petitioner also stare against him in granting bail. Several cases are alleged to have
been committed by him and therefore, such antecedents cannot be ignored while considering the application for bail.”
The court further relied on the case of P.Chidambaram v. Directorate of Enforcement [(2020) 13 SCC 791] and Prahlad Singh Bhati v. NCT, Delhi and Another [(2001) 4 SCC 280], wherein it has been held that each case has to be decided based on the circumstances of the case. The circumstances, in this case, lean against the petitioner and it was observed:
“There is no hard and fast rule regarding grant or refusal to grant bail. Each case has to be considered on the facts and
circumstances of each case and on its own merits. The discretion of the court has to be exercised judiciously and not in an arbitrary manner. The nature of accusation and the severity of the punishment, apprehension of the prosecution about influencing the witnesses, the circumstances that are peculiar to the accused and the larger interest of the public all lean against the grant of bail to the petitioner.“
The bail was denied as there was no merit in the application.