(1) This is an application for release on bail of Kishan Singh petitioner who is being proceeded against for an offence under Ss. 363/366/376, Indian Penal Code. The learned Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, refused to release him on bail on the 29th August 1959 on the ground that commitment proceedings were going on and the statement of the prosecutrix had already been recorded. After going through the statement of the prosecutrix the learned Judge observed that the allegations of rape had been made against the petitioner. The learned Sessions Judge refused to express any opinion, and in my opinion rightly, on the contention raised by the counsel for the accused that the prosecutrix was more than 18years of age.
(2) In this Court Mr. K. L. Jagga has made an attempt to show that the age of Smt. Jito, the prosecutrix, has not been conclusively established to be less than 18 years and that from her conduct it appears that she was a consenting party. It is not open to this Court nor is it desirable to express any opinion on the merits of the case at this stage, particularly in the absence of record. The counsel then contended that the petitioner, who is a respectable person with a fairly lucrative business, has been in the lock-up for the last three months or so and that the co-accused Smt. Giano and Dalip Singh have been released on bail.
The counsel for the State has contended that Kishan Singh petitioner was a person who actually committed the offence of rape, and therefore his bail was refused. It may here be stated that the object of the detention of the accused person during trial is not punitive; it is merely to secure his appearance to abide and serve out the sentence to be imposed by the Court, and except where a statutory provision specifically lays down, the principal consideration to weigh with the Court in the exercise of its discretion in granting or refusing bail is the probability of the accused appearing to stand the trial and not his supposed guilt or innocence.
For this purpose, generally speaking, the nature of the accusation, the kind of evidence in support thereof, the severity of the punishment which the conviction will entail and the character, behavior, means and the status of the accused have to be taken into account, and this is usually done for the purpose of determining whether or not the accused is likely to endeavor to escape punishment by absconding; in cases where he is likely to abscond bail should not be granted; but in cases where there are no reasonable grounds for supposing that the accused is likely to abscond, there should be no difficulty in ordering release on bail.
Of course, the Court is also entitled to take into consideration the possibility of the accused-considering his status, character and influence-intimidating or otherwise winning over or influencing the witnesses for the prosecution. The general policy of the law is to allow bail rather than refuse it and bail should not be withheld as a measure of punishment, or for the purpose of putting obstacles in the way of defence.
(3) For the reasons given above, I would order release of Kishan Singh petitioner on bail on furnishing two respectable sureties in the sum of Rs. 5,00/- each in addition to his personal bond in the like amount. The sureties may be produced to the satisfaction of the District Magistrate, Ludhiana.