The Gauhati High Court has granted bail to an Army Officer who along with his wife is accused of torturing a minor girl.

It was primarily contended that as per the FIR, the grievous injuries were allegedly caused by Major Shailendra Kumar Yadav’s wife. Further that he cannot be held responsible under Section 374 IPC as the informant herself handed over the victim to the petitioner. It was also argued that the offence under Section 12 of the POCSO Act is not made out against him and that he has been languishing in jail for 70 days.

A bench of Justice Susmita Phukan Khaund, however, noting the averments and the evidences produced observed, “Indeed, there are incriminating materials against the petitioner and his wife. The photographs clearly reveal that the victim was subjected to extreme cruelty, but fortunately, the victim has survived. The statement of the victim also reveals that the petitioner is also complicit. He was privy to the cruelty extended to the victim, but he never stopped his wife from subjecting the victim to such inhuman and relentless cruelty. He had indeed harboured his wife… After giving my thoughtful consideration to the submissions at the Bar and after considering the length of detention and the progress of investigation, the petitioner is enlarged on bail of Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand) only with two local sureties of the like amount to the satisfaction of the learned jurisdictional Court…”.

Advocate S. Mitra appeared for the petitioner-victim and Public Prosecutor M Phukan appeared for the State of Assam.

The accused is alleged of the offences under Sections 326, 354, 370, 374, 34, 506 IPC, read with Section 12 of the POCSO Act, 2012 and Section 3 of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

While vehemently opposing the bail application, it was submitted by the State that the petitioner being an army personnel is under the oath of saving the citizens, instead, he became the reason behind endangering the life of a citizen. It was alleged that he was privy to the atrocities committed by his wife to the victim.

As per the FIR, the victim was handed over by the informant under the care of the petitioner and his wife, but instead of taking care of the victim, the petitioner and his wife treated her as a domestic helper and subjected her to inhuman cruelty day in and day out.

The bench noted that the victim was compelled to take care of the petitioner's infant. She was mercilessly and relentlessly assaulted by the petitioner's wife and sometimes the petitioner also used to assault the victim. The allegations in the FIR also incriminates that the petitioner and his wife caused grievous hurt on the victim. Naked photographs of the victim was also forcefully clicked by the petitioner's wife, who threatened to upload those photographs through the social media and internet.

Therefore, considering the evidences produced and the case diary, the bench noted, “The Case Diary and the photographs of the victim clearly reveal that the victim had sustained grievous injuries. Her tongue was cut, her teeth broken, she had injury marks all over her body, including her back. The petitioner cannot remain oblivious of such cruelty extended to the victim, who was under his protection. The statements of the witnesses and the statement of the victim under Section 164 CrPC, clearly reveals that the petitioner did not allow the victim to meet her parents, which also implicates that the victim was wrongfully confined by the petitioner and his wife. A minor victim was forced to do household chores, like a slave. Human Rights have also been violated”.

Cause Title: Major Shailendra Kumar Yadav v. The State Of Assam And Anr.

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