CASE: Gagandeep Sharma v. State of Punjab
CORAM: Hon’ble Justice Avneesh Jhingan
Recently, the Punjab & Haryana High Court refused to grant a man anticipatory bail, noting that the fact that he and the prosecutor were aware of each other does not entitle him to abuse the social media and spread objectionable content. Under Sections 354 and 354-A IPC and Section 66 of the Information and Technology Act, 2000, Justice Avneesh Jhingan was hearing the petition of a man seeking pre-arrest bail.
The Case before the Court
At the prosecutrix’s case, the FIR was lodged, alleging that the petitioner (seeking pre-arrest bail) had circulated certain photographs of the prosecutrix on whatsapp and sent/delivered on her mobile certain offensive messages. On attainment knowledge of acts done by him, the prosecutrix informed her parents who tried to get respectable of the village involved in the matter. Nevertheless, on 26th August 2020, he again circulated photographs.
It was alleged that in August 2020, he forcibly dragged her in his shop and did obscene acts. On her resistance, she was threatened to be eliminated.
Arguments of the Petitioner
The petitioner’s counsel argued that, as long as they are co-villagers, the prosecutor and the petitioner are known to each other. It was stated that the prosecutrix was major and that the prosecutrix had relations with the petitioner was dependent on photographs to show that the prosecutrix has such relation.
Order of the Court
The Court observed while denying him the benefit,
“There is no date on the photographs and moreover even assuming that these photographs were earlier in time, this is not enough to permit the petitioner to malign the image of a girl.”
The Court also noted that it was found during the investigation that objectionable material was used by the petitioner on social media and that the FIR was registered after the case had been investigated by Cyber Cell and upon receipt of the report. Finally, taking into account the seriousness of the charges and noting that this was a situation where it was appropriate to carry out a custodial interrogation in order to retrieve the evidence available to the petitioner against the prosecutrix, the Court decided that no anticipatory bail case had been raised.