New Delhi: The accused, as well as the survivor, are both the “state’s future assets”, the Gauhati High Court has said while granting bail to an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati student accused of raping a fellow student in March this year.
In an order passed on 13 August granting bail to Utsav Kadam, Justice Ajit Borthakur observed, “as the investigation in the case is completed and both the informant/victim girl and the accused are the state’s future assets being talented students pursuing technical courses at the I.I.T., Guwahati, who are young in the age group of 19 to 21 years only and further, they are being hailed from two different states, continuation of detention of the accused in the interest of trial of the case, if charges are framed, may not be necessary”.
The order was passed despite the fact that the court noted that there is a “clear prima facie” case against Kadam.
“On hearing the learned counsel for both sides with reference to the relevant documents such as F.I.R., medical report and statements under Sections 161 and 164 Cr.P.C., the contents of the charge-sheet, the Fact Finding Committee Report etc., there is a clear prima facie case as alleged against the accused petitioner,” Justice Borthakur said.
However, the court noted that the investigation in the case is completed, and added, “A perusal of the list of witnesses too, cited in the charge-sheet, this Court finds no possibility of the accused tampering with their evidence or influencing them directly or indirectly, if released on bail”.
It, therefore, granted bail to Kadam, with the usual bail conditions. Among other things, he has been asked to appear before the trial court on all dates fixed by the court till the case is disposed of, and has been directed to refrain from making any “inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the Police Officer or the Court”.
Kadam’s lawyer cited academic prowess
The FIR in the case has been filed under Sections 376 (rape), 328 (causing hurt by poison etc, with an intent to commit an offence), 307 (attempt to murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
The court order mentions that according to the FIR, on 28 March, Kadam allegedly met the woman on the pretext of discussing her responsibilities as the joint secretary of the finance and economics club. However, it has been alleged that he forced her to drink alcohol and raped her when she was in an inebriated state.
According to the order, Kadam’s lawyer had demanded bail for him, submitting that he “is a young youth aged about 21 years and is a brilliant student of B. Tech Pre-final year of Indian Institute of Technology (‘I.I.T.’ for short), Guwahati in chemical engineering.”
He also pointed out that Kadam has already spent about 120 days in judicial custody and that investigation in the case is complete.
“Mr. Choudhury, learned Senior counsel also contends that…being a student of I.I.T., Guwahati, further continuation of his detention for the purpose of trial of the case may not be warranted and that would amount to causing further damage to his brilliant academic pursuit,” the order noted.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)