After nearly four years in jail for his alleged rape of a minor girl, former Mawhati MLA and ex-chairman of HNLC Julius Kitbok Dorphang has today been released on bail on medical grounds.
The release order was issued by the Meghalaya High Court on the bail plea filed by Dorphang’s nephew Balajiedlang Dorphang after the court was informed that Dorphang required proper medical treatment for his heart problems.
The High Court bench of Justice Wanlura Diengdoh ordered the release of Dorphang on the conditions that he shall execute a personal bond of Rs 50,000 along with two solvent sureties of like amount, to the satisfaction of the respective trial courts, that is, one set before the Court of the Special Judge (POCSO), Nongpoh and one before the Special Judge (POCSO), Jowai, that he shall not abscond but shall be present in court as and when required and that he shall not leave the jurisdiction of India without prior permission from the two trial courts.
The High Court decided to grant bail to Dorphang based on his health condition and the medical report submitted by the Medical Superintendent, NEIGRIHMS.
The court observed that it is conscious of the fact that bail in cases of offences involving women and children is not easily granted, more particularly taking into account the vulnerability of the victim if faced with the knowledge that the alleged perpetrator is at large, the fear of being intimidated being one of them.
“However, facts and circumstances of each case have to be considered so as to balance the right of the accused/UTP with societal interest. It is also not disputed that grant of bail on ground of medical exigency is acceptable under the circumstances,” Justice Diengdoh said.
According to the medical report submitted by the Medical Superintendent NEIGRIHMS, Dorphang suffered from chest pain, giddiness and a history of presyncope. The report also said that on examination, Dorphang shows Sinus Bradycardia, which is a type of slow heartbeat, the patient’s heartbeat being at a minimum of 40 per minutes with Atrial Premature Complexes (APC).
Stating that Dorphang has been proposed for Electrophysiological Study (EPS) followed by permanent pacemaker if required, the medical report also said that MRI brain done on November 19 also showed chronic right cerebellar infarct (or cerebellar stroke) with ischemic white matter changes (Fazekas grade II).
What can be understood from the above is that Dorphang is undergoing treatment for what has been diagnosed are symptoms of stroke and dementia, which if not properly attended to, may aggravate.
Dorphang is in judicial custody for three years and ten months. He has been referred to NEIGRIHMS and was admitted in the ICCU since his health condition has deteriorated to the extent that he requires special treatment. Family members said that he needed to be admitted in any private hospital if he was released on bail.
Dorphang’s lawyer K Ch Gautam informed the High Court that his client was hospitalised for more than a month and there was no sign of any improvement and till November 24, it is understood that more tests are required to be carried out on him and his condition has further deteriorated.
This is the fifth bail application filed on behalf of Dorphang who is in judicial custody for about three years and ten months.
Dorphang is facing trial in two courts, one before the Special Judge (POCSO) at Nongpoh and another before the Special Judge (POCSO) at Jowai.
He was jailed following a complaint filed on December 23, 2016 by the Chairperson, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Meghalaya to the Superintendent of Police, East Khasi Hills District alleging the accused had illicit sexual intercourse with a minor girl, which is a violation of the child’s right to life and dignity.
In this regard, a criminal case was registered at Laitumkhrah Police Station here under Section 366(A) IPC read with Section 3(a)/4/5 of the POCSO Act and Section 5 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.
A second complaint was filed on January 5, 2017, again by the Chairperson, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Meghalaya, alleging that Dorphang had committed a similar offence against the same minor victim somewhere within the jurisdiction of Nongpoh, Ri-Bhoi District, leading to the registration of another criminal case against him at Umiam Police Station under Section 376(2) (i) (n) IPC read with Sections 4/6/17/ of the POCSO Act and Section 5 (I) of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.