Kerala HC recalls bail granted to man accused of rape and murder of pregnant minor

The accused had got bail after both prosecution and defense counsels presented false facts to court.
Safar Shah accused of rape and murder of school girl
Safar Shah accused of rape and murder of school girl
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The Kerala High Court has revoked the bail granted to a Kochi man who is accused in an alleged rape and murder of a pregnant minor girl. The HC which had earlier directed the police to arrest him on finding that he secured bail after misleading court, on Wednesday revoked the bail after hearing the accused.

The case pertains to the death of a 17-year-old girl in Kochi in last January. The man, Safar Shah, is accused of having allegedly abducted, raped and murdered the girl while she was on the way to her house from school. She was discovered dead in a tea plantation in Tamil Nadu’s Valparai and was found to be sexually assaulted. According to the prosecution,the victim at the time of her death was pregnant.

The accused was granted bail by court on May 12 after both defense counsel and the Public Prosecutor who appeared for the victim, informed HC that the investigation officers had not filed the final chargesheet, making him eligible for statutory bail. But after finding that the police had in fact filed the chargesheet before the stipulated period of 90 days, the court on June 1 directed the police to arrest the accused.

But while revoking the bail on Wednesday, the court notably did not initiate any disciplinary proceedings against both prosecution and defense counsels who misled the HC on the fact pertaining to submission of chargesheet.

The court recorded Senior Public Prosecutor Suman Chakravarthy to have said that Public Prosecutor CK Prasad – who appeared while bail was considered – made an inadvertent mistake, due to communication gap between prosecution and police officers concerned because of the prevailing lockdown.

HC also observed that, after realising the fault, prosecutor CK Prasad, on the day after bail was granted, approached the bench stating that he had made a mistake.

The court also observed that while considering the bail petition, CK Prasad was “continuously opposing the bail application stating that, it is a serious offence and therefore, this court may not entertain the bail application, even if the accused is entitled statutory bail.”

By not invoking any proceedings against the Public Prosecutor, Justice PV Kunhikrishnan said that, “..when the mistake is identified, the Prosecutor brought to the notice of this Court about his mistake. Therefore, I drop further proceedings against the Public Prosecutor in this case.”

The court also did not initiate any proceedings against the defense counsel - Advocate Aravind TH - despite him making a wrong submission knowingly.

“..when the case came up for consideration (in HC) and when the learned Public Prosecutor submitted that charge is not submitted, the counsel relied on the statement of the Public Prosecutor. It is a fact that the a young budding lawyer who started practice only three years back. I don't want to trouble him in this case by making any further observation. I accept his apology,” said Justice PV Kunhikrishnan.

But Justice PV Kunhikrishnan also expressed his displeasure on the whole issue. He said that the relationship between ‘bench’ and the ‘bar’ is important in a justice delivery system of judiciary.

“The court is acting based on the submission of the lawyers. Every lawyer is bound to submit true facts before the Court. If the lawyers are coming before the Court and twisting facts, the Court will be helpless. The burden of the Court will increase. Mutual trust is important,” he added.

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