“They must hear the victims before deciding on the pleas of provisional release of the accused”
The Kerala High Court has ruled that criminal courts should be sensitive when dealing with cases of sexual violence and should hear victims before deciding on requests for the provisional release of the accused.
Judge Alexander Thomas was considering a plea by a rape victim against the early bail granted by a Kasaragod court to an accused. Although there is no legal obligation, “there is a judicial obligation, derived from the principles of fairness, that victims should be heard in all cases of interim release” in cases of sexual violence , he observed.
The court said that there could be no two opinions that there was a flagrant under-representation of women in senior positions not only in the prosecution and the investigation office, but also in the judicial bodies of the State. Therefore, in serious cases of sexual violence, involving both Article 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (rape) and other offenses affecting child victims under the POCSO Act, the court should be sensitive. to victims and should exercise its discretion. whether or not the victim should be heard.
The court criticized the judge of the Kasaragod Extra Sessions Court for mechanically concluding that the incident could only have happened on the basis of consent.
He ordered the Sessions Court to reconsider the accused’s bail plea.