SC stays bail granted to former Jindal students in rape case
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SC stays bail granted to former Jindal students in rape case

Aditya AK

Nearly two months after the Punjab & Haryana High Court rather controversially granted bail to three former Jindal Global Law School (JGLS) students accused of rape, the Supreme Court today stayed the order.

The matter came up for hearing today before a Bench of Justices SA Bobde and Mohan M Shantanagoudar, which proceeded to stay the High Court orderThe Court also issued notice to the state government, and granted leave to appeal. Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves appeared for the petitioner.

An appeal was filed last month, after the High Court granted bail to Hardik Sikri, Karan Chhabra and Vikas Garg. Quite bizarrely, the High Court Bench of Justices Mahesh Grover and Raj Shekhar Attri saw it fit to shame the victim, while showing concern for the trio who were convicted of rape by the trial court.

The appeal, filed through Advocate-on-Record Rohit Kumar Singh states,

“…while suspending their sentences as aforesaid, the High Court passed several remarks upon the general character of the victim by describing her conduct as “promiscuous”. Moreover, the High Court made wholly unwarranted observations to the effect that the complainant indulged in “casual sex”, “adventurism” and “experimentation in sexual encounters”…”

The High Court had granted bail taking into consideration that the victim used to consume alcohol and cigarettes and condoms were found in her room.

In this context, it is averred in the appeal that the High Court had failed to consider the Supreme Court decision in State of Haryana v. Prem Chand, wherein it was held that any imputation on character of the victim by any means is wholly irrelevant even for the purpose of sentencing, let alone conviction.

The petition also points out that the accused were not granted bail during the trial stage, as it was feared that they would hamper the investigation.

Further, it is stated the High Court’s intention to “balance the concerns of the victim, demands of society and law and the element of reformatory and rehabilitative justice.” The petition states,

“This Court has repeatedly held that misplaced sympathy for convicts who commit gruesome crimes against the society at large only defeats the ends of justice. Moreover, there is grave probability that the convicts/respondents 2-4 will continue in their criminal ways in society after being enlarged on bail, given the diabolic manner of commission of the offence at hand…”

On the abovementioned grounds, among others, it was prayed that special leave be granted to appeal the High Court order, and that an interim stay on the same be placed. And today, the apex court assented to the latter.

Read the order:

jindal-order-06112017-watermark.pdf
Preview

Read the petition:

hardik_sikri_slp_final-watermark.pdf
Preview
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