Saturday, May 28, 2022



SC cancels bail of rape accused welcomed as ‘Bhaiyya is back’ on release

New Delhi, May 5, 2022 – The Supreme Court on Thursday cancelled the bail of a students’ leader — accused in a rape of a friend on false promise of marriage — after pictures surfaced on social media welcoming him with captions like “Bhaiyaa is Back”.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, citing social media posts, said: “They amplify the celebratory mood of the respondent No.2 and his supporters on his having been released from detention in less than two months of being taken into custody for a grave offence that entails sentence of not less than ten years that may even extend to life.”

The complainant’s counsel argued that the accused bail order deserves to be set aside, as after his release photographs appeared on the social media with his snapshots prominently displayed on posters in the forefront with the faces of some influential persons of the society, welcoming him with captions like “Bhaiyaa is back”, “Back to Bhaiyaa”, and “Welcome to Role Janeman”.

Counsel for the accused argued that he is a student leader who belongs to a community that celebrates the festival “Maa Narmada Jayanti” and the posters in question have nothing to do with his being released on bail.

The top court, howver, noted that captions referred with emojis of crowns and hearts thrown in for good measure, belie this version.

Justice Kohli, who authored the judgment on behalf of the bench, said: “The captions tagged to his photographs on the social media highlight the superior position and power wielded by the respondent No 2 and his family in the society and its deleterious impact on the appellant/complainant. The emojis of crowns and hearts tagged with the captions quoted above are devoid of any religious sentiments sought to be portrayed by the respondent No.2.”

The bench said the brazen conduct of the accused has evoked a bona fide fear in the mind of the complainant that she would not get a free and fair trial if he remains enlarged on bail and that there is a likelihood of his influencing the material witnesses.

The bench set aside the Madhya Pradesh High Court order, granting relief to accused Shubhang Gontia, only on the ground of delay in lodging the FIR, and ignoring his alleged involvement in four other cases in Jabalpur.

The top court said: “In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, we are of the considered opinion that the respondent No. 2 does not deserve the concession of bail. Relevant material brought on record has been overlooked by the High Court while granting him bail.”

It directed the accused to surrender within a week.

In June 2021, the complainant lodged an FIR lodged alleging that the accused induced her to develop physical relationship on the promise of marriage. She added that since July, 2019 after applying the vermillion, he convinced her that they were married. Later, he refused to solemnise the marriage.

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