2007 ALL MR (Cri) 1950
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY(PANAJI BENCH)

N.A. BRITTO, J.

Anthony Britto Vs. State Of Goa

Criminal Revision Application No.8 of 2007

6th February, 2007

Petitioner Counsel: S. G. DESSAI,S. KALSHAVKAR
Respondent Counsel: Ms. WINNIE COUTINHO

Criminal P.C. (1973), Ss.437, 439 - Goa Children's Act (2003), S.2 - Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (1956), Ss.3 to 7 - Application for bail - Accused pressing minor into prostitution identified by victim-girl - Plea of accused that prosecution has failed to establish that victim was minor - Held, the said controversy need not be entered into while deciding bail application - Children's Court is bound to look into this aspect before proceeding with trial - Offence in which applicant accused is involved not being very serious - Bail application allowed with suitable restrictions/conditions. (Paras 5 & 6)

JUDGMENT

JUDGMENT :- Heard the Senior Counsel on behalf of the applicant/accused and the learned Public Prosecutor on behalf of the State/respondent.

2. The applicant is accused No.6 in a case filed before the Children's Court for the State of Goa, Panaji and having been refused bail twice, first by Order dated 29-12-2006 and then by Order dated 19-1-2007 has approached this Court for the same. The applicant has been prosecuted in the said case under Sections 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 and Section 8(2) of the Goa Children's Act, 2003. The allegation against him is that he procured the other female accused along with a minor and pressed them into prostitution and employed the male accused as pimps for arranging customers for them and he is living on their earnings.

3. The applicant was arrested on 10-12-2006 and since then has been in custody. The learned Children's Court has denied bail to the accused on the ground that the accused is likely to repeat the commission of offences in case he is released on bail. In the reply filed to this application, the grant of bail is objected on the ground that in case the applicant is released on bail he will not be available at the trial.

4. The learned Senior Counsel on behalf of the applicant has submitted that there is no evidence of the involvement of the present applicant. This submission prima facie cannot be accepted for the victim girl has identified the accused by his name and therefore it might have not been necessary to hold a test identification parade. Next, the learned Senior Counsel submits that the Children's Court could not have dealt with the application as there was no evidence that the victim was a minor.

5. On behalf of the respondent, this position is contested by submitting that though no birth certificate of the victim was available, the radiological test carried out on the said victim shows that the said victim was a minor. It is not necessary for the purpose of deciding this bail application to enter into the said controversy. The learned Children's Court is bound to look into that aspect before proceeding with the trial against the applicant/A-6. There is no dispute that the maximum sentence which could be imposed on the applicant/A-6 is 7 years as is stated on behalf of both the parties. In other words, the offences in which the applicant/A-6 is involved are not very serious so as to deprive him of being admitted to bail. As regards the likelihood of the accused repeating the offences and not being available for the trial, those apprehensions could be taken care of by imposing suitable conditions.

6. In view of the above, the application is granted. The accused shall be released on bail upon execution of a bond of Rs.15,000/- with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the Children's Court at Panaji with a condition that during the trial of the case the accused shall not visit the areas within the jurisdiction of Margao and Colva Police Stations and with a further condition that the applicant/A-6 shall not commit offences similar to those which he is suspected to have committed and shall not directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him/her from disclosing the facts to the Court or tamper with the evidence.

7. Application granted on the above terms.

Application allowed.