The Kerala High Court recently granted bail to a woman accused of sexually molesting her son, on finding that there were several discrepancies in the police investigation so far.
The Court also opined that the shocking, unusual, and unbelievable allegations made against the woman require a preliminary probe to ascertain the genuineness of the complaint.
The case prompted Justice Shircy V to issue a general direction to the State Police Chief to instruct all Station House Officers in Kerala to conduct a preliminary inquiry first before “embarking upon registration of a crime when such unusual, unbelievable, inhuman and wild allegations are raised, that too against a mother.”
“It is true that while considering a bail application, it is not necessary to go deep into the details of the investigation and have a meticulous evaluation of the materials so far collected by the investigation agency. Usually, it will not be done. But this case appears to be quite strange, shocking and an unusual one, where a mother is put on the dock with very wild and ferocious allegations”, the Court said.
The Judge went on the observe that the sanctity of Motherhood was totally ignored in this case.
“A mother carries her child for nine lunar months in her womb and so the relationship of a mother and child are connected even before his or her birth. The unconditional love, affection and warmth of a mother towards her child cannot be compared or equated with any love in the world. No mother ‘worthy of the name’ will resort to such a disgraceful act.”
In this case, a criminal complaint was lodged against a woman by her estranged husband, wherein she was alleged to have molested her 13-year-old son from the age of 10 years onwards.
The Court noted that while the child victim was stated to have told the police that his mother used to disrobe him, touch his private parts and compel him to kiss her body, the boy later improved his version of events while giving his statement to the Judicial First Class Magistrate and during a medical examination.
Before the Magistrate, the child stated that his mother would makes video calls at night, touch his private parts afterwards and also lie down on his body.
Before a doctor, he improved his version further, the Court noted. Therefore, the State’s contention that the child had given a consistent version before the police, the Child Welfare Commission (CWC) and the Magistrate appears to be not perfectly correct, Justice Shircy said.
Pertinently, the Court took note of the woman’s submissions that the complaint was filed in the wake of cases filed from April 2019 onwards by her against her estranged husband for maintenance and custody of her children.
She told that she was forced to leave her matrimonial home after her husband began living with another woman. All four of her minor children were earlier living with the petitioner-woman until her husband was alleged to have taken three of the children to Sharjah with him, without the woman’s knowledge or consent.
In Sharjah, the estranged couple’s son attended a Madrasa instead of a regular school. The husband told the Court that his son appeared gloomy and depressed upon which he inquired the reasons for the same. The son then divulged that the petitioner mother had been molesting him
Therefore, the husband returned to Kerala with his son to lodge a criminal complaint, the Court was told.
The High Court, however, noted that the complaint was not lodged until November 10, 2020, although the petitioner’s husband and son had arrived in Kerala in September. Whereas the husband stated that he had taken his son for counselling during this interim period, the Bench found that there was little material to substantiate this claim.
“The details of the same have not been probed into by the investigation agency though they are duty bound to do so,” the Court said.
Moreover, while the prosecution claimed that the child was given counselling for about 10 days by the CWC, it appeared that only two days of counselling was given as the submission was made on the basis of a report dated November 13, i.e. three days after the criminal complaint was lodged.
The delay in lodging the criminal complaint, the discrepancies regarding the number of days the child was given counselling, the earlier cases filed by the woman against her husband, the estranged relationship between the woman and her husband, coupled with the wild and ferocious allegations made against the woman, led the Court to eventually opine that the police ought to have conducted a preliminary enquiry into the matter.
“The investigating agency should not have jumped into the conclusion to register this case against the petitioner especially when such an unusual complaint was raised against a mother,” the Court said.
Therefore, the Court allowed the petitioner-woman’s release on bail, while also directing the police to conduct a preliminary probe into various aspects of the case to ascertain whether the husband had lodged a genuine complaint or whether it was an attempt to defeat his estranged wife’s legitimate claims for maintenance and custody, or an outcome of the strained relationship between the two.
The Court ordered that the investigation be carried out by a special team headed by an IPS officer, preferably a lady. Justice Shircy added that the child victim may be removed from the father’s custody and safely accommodated in a CWC home till the probe is over, if absolutely necessary.
“If the child involved in the case was brainwashed or tutored by any one to make such a wild allegations against his mother, they have also to be booked and proceeded with, in accordance with law”, the Court added.
Advocate KR Rajkumar appeared for the petitioner whereas Senior Public Prosecutor Suman Chakravarthy appeared for the State.