Absence of DNA evidence not ground for grant of bail in rape case: Karnataka HC

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The Karnataka High Court recently rejected the bail application of two accused persons who had allegedly sexually assaulted a disabled woman which resulted in the woman giving birth to a child [Chikkaiah and Anr. v. State of Karnataka].

Single-judge Justice HP Sandesh held even though a DNA test had not been conducted, that alone would not be ground to release the accused on bail when other evidence pointed to prima facie involvement of the accused.

The Court noted that even though a DNA test had not been conducted, there was a prima facie case against the accused since the survivor had identified the photographs of the accused persons, who were also her neighbours.

Her statement had been recorded and the survivor had given birth to a child as a result of the alleged sexual assault. There was sufficient material to make a prima facie case against the accused, even in the absence of a DNA test, the Court held.

“Her statement is also recorded and the victim has given birth to a child consequent to the sexual act and no doubt, DNA report is not before the Court. When such being the factual aspects of the case and taking note of the heinous offence of Section 376 of IPC against a deaf and dumb and the petitioners are neighbors and when the deaf and dumb victim identifies the photographs of these petitioners before the learned Magistrate, there is a prima facie case against the petitioners,” the order said.

The Court, therefore, turned down the argument of the accused that since DNA test had not been conducted, they are entitled to be released on bail.

The accused had been charged with offences under Sections 376(2)(L) (rape on a woman suffering from mental or physical disability) 376(2)(n), (committing rape repeatedly on the same woman), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) read with 34 (acts done in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

According to the prosecution, the survivor, a deaf and dumb woman with disability in one leg, had been living alone ever since her mother died in March 2021. In July 2021, the survivor niece visited her, when she found that the victim had a hospital card indicating that she was 34 weeks pregnant.

When she enquired who was responsible for the pregnancy, the victim had pointed at the two houses in front of her house. The niece then lodged a complaint, and during the investigation the survivor identified the photographs of the two accused persons.

Counsel for the petitioners-accused, advocate Srinivasa DC argued that a DNA blood sample had not been drawn even though the survivor had given birth to a child. When a DNA test is not conducted, the petitioners should be entitled to bail, he said.

The Court rejected the argument, noting that there was sufficient prima facie evidence against the petitioners. Moreover, the allegations are of a heinous case of rape against a deaf and dumb woman, the Court observed.

Since, DNA evidence had not been obtained yet, the Court directed the Investigating Officer to get the DNA report immediately according to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

While rejecting the bail petition, the Court made it clear that the petitioners-accused could approach the Court after getting the DNA report.

Advocate Srinivasa DC appeared for the petitioners while advocate Vinayaka VS appeared for the State of Karnataka.

Read Order here:

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