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Delhi HC observes in 70% Bail matters no notice was issued to victim by District Courts: Law is violated with impunity in cases under RAPE & POCSO

The Delhi High Court on June 5, 2020 {MISS G (MINOR) THR. HER vs STATE OF NCT OF DELHI & ANR.} held that whenever an accused who is charged under Sections 376(3), 376- AB, 376 - DA or 376 DB of the IPC or the provisions of the POCSO Act, moves an application for regular bail or interim bail, notice shall be issued to the IO as also any counsel on record for the victim/complainant/informant.

The Single Judge of HC, Justice PRATHIBA M. SINGH, further observed that as per the report, on the whole, out of a total of 294 cases wherein bail was sought by the accused, notices were issued to the Complainant in only 79 cases i.e., in 215 cases constitution almost 70%, no notice was issued. It was observed that a perusal of the report of the ld. Registrar General, in fact, confirms the analysis which has been was placed on record by the Petitioner in respect of 122 cases, to the effect that Complainants/Informants are not being heard prior to hearing in bail applications to accused under the provisions of the POCSO Act in District Courts.

The HC therefore directed that IO upon receipt of the bail application and/or the notice of such application, shall immediately issue notice to the victim/ complainant/ informant in prescribed format as per ‘Annexure A’ of the Practice Directions. It was also directed that the service of notice shall be certified by the SHO of the local police station by signing Annexure A at the prescribed place. It was directed that the duly completed Annexure A shall be filed along with the reply/ status report filed by the IO in respect of the bail application and shall be presented to the Court.

It was directed by the HC that in every bail order, service of notice or reasons for non-service or non-hearing of the complainant/ victim/ informant shall be specifically recorded before proceeding to pass orders by the Courts.

The HC observed that in order to ensure compliance of these directions, including the previous orders of the ld. Division Bench of this Court, and keeping in view the continuous non-adherence to the same, it is deemed appropriate to direct that any non-compliance of the mandatory condition of issuance of notice and service of notice to the complainant/victim/informant could entail consequential action, in accordance with law.

The present petition before the Delhi HC highlighted a perennial and grave problem of hearing not being afforded to victims/ complainants/ informants, in bail applications filed on behalf of those accused who are facing trial under the provisions of Sections 376(3), 376- AB, 376 - DA or 376 DB of the IPC dealing with rape of women below 12, 16 years of age including gang rapes as also under the provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (“POCSO”) Act, 2012 -when there is unambiguous mandate of law to do so and also guidelines of Division Bench of HC in that regard.

Resultantly, the aforesaid directions were given by HC, so that henceforth in every single case, notice is issued, before deciding bail, to the informant/ complainant.

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