A Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court Bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar has observed that "once a person is booked for an offence under Section 16/17 of POCSO Act a presumption of guilt operates against him/her in view of the provisions contained in Section 29 of the POCSO Act but this presumption is rebuttable in nature and if an accused during the trial of the case is able to show to the Court that certain material has come on record which rebuts the presumption of guilt against him/her, such an accused can certainly be admitted to bail."

Counsel Sheikh Manzoor appeared for the petitioner. GA Sajad Ashraf appeared for the respondents.

In this case, the petitioner had approached the trial court for the grant of bail but her application was dismissed. A minor girl had disclosed that one man, with the help of her mother (petitioner), committed rape on her on multiple occasions, and she became pregnant.

The petitioner contended that during the investigation of the case, the victim was instigated to implicate the petitioner.

On perusing the principles governing the grant or refusal of bail, and the relevant provisions of the Act, the Court held that "In the instant case, as already noted, the victim has clearly exonerated the petitioner and even her brothers have stated nothing against the petitioner in their statements during the trial of the case. Thus, prima facie, the petitioner has been able to rebut the presumption of guilt against her."

In light of the same, the Court allowed the application and the petitioner was admitted to bail.

Cause Title: Naseema Begum v. Union Territory Of J&K

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