The Meghalaya High Court has ordered for conditional bail of a man who was jailed since October this year under the POCSO Act for alleged rape.
In an order passed today, Justice Wanlura Diengdoh granted bail to Bhola Rai who was accused of impregnating a girl residing at a locality under Rynjah police station here.
The judge also directed Rai not to abscond or tamper with the evidence and witnesses, not to leave the jurisdiction of India without the permission of the investigating officer (IO) and to make himself available to the IO as and when necessary.
Rai was also ordered to furnish a personal bond of Rs 50,000 together with two solvent sureties of like amount to the satisfaction of the Court of the Special Judge (POCSO), Shillong.
The High Court also directed the Special Judge (POCSO) Shillong to ensure that the release notice is issued on the presentation of the bonds etc by Rai.
The High Court also directed the IO to take necessary steps for the DNA test of all concerned at the earliest.
Rai who is married with two young children earns his livelihood as a taxi driver. He along with his family members had left for his native place at Bihar on March 8, 2020 and was stranded there due to the lockdown. However, on October 23, 2020, police came to his village and arrested him in connection with the case registered against him at Rynjah police station.
On making enquiries, Rai came to know that he was accused of committing rape on an alleged minor who is actually about 19 or 20 years of age when the competent authorities, including the hospital authorities found out that she was pregnant and have delivered a male child at NEIGRIHMS, Shillong on October 14, 2020.
It is also stated that the alleged victim had took the name of the petitioner as the father of the new born child and accordingly, he was arrested by the police.
P K Borah, lawyer for Rai has argued that his client has been falsely implicated in the case as the alleged victim had earlier proposed marriage to him, to which he declined being already married with two children and as such, the victim must have had a clandestine affair with someone else and had implicated Rai only out of vengeance.
Borah has also submitted before the High Court that the child was born prematurely and as such, he may have been conceived sometime in the month of April 2020, by which time, Rai was already at Bihar. Borah has also reiterated that Rai is willing to undergo DNA test to disprove paternity and requested the court to direct for conduct of the DNA test.
The Investigating Officer (IO) has recorded the statement of the girl under Section 161 CrPC and basically, she had stated that she knew Rai who is her neighbour and that she had sexual intercourse with him since he promised to marry her.
Further, in her statement under Section 164 CrPC (under oath), she had reiterated that she voluntarily had sexual intercourse with Rai since he promised to marry her and that she is in love with him and they had a relationship together.
Another aspect of the matter is that the alleged victim has given her age as 16 years in her statement before the IO. However, medical tests, including physical, dental and radiological tests carried out at NEIGRIHMS revealed that her age is above 18 years and below 19 years as on November 17, 2020.
In the status report filed by the IO, the case is pending for DNA test for paternity testing, which is also the plea by Rai who has indicated his willingness to undergo such a test.