Written By- Pretika Tiwari
Vijay Babu v. State of Kerala
On Wednesday, the Malayalam actor Vijay Babu was granted an anticipatory bail by the High Court in a rape case registered against him wherein an actress accused him of sexual exploitation. While granting the bail, the Court put the following conditions: On June 27 at 9:00 am, the petitioner must appear before the investigating officer (IO) for questioning; In order to facilitate the needs of the investigation, the petitioner may be questioned for the next seven days, from June 27 to July 3, both days included; during this time, the petitioner will be deemed to be in custody; If the investigating officer plans to detain the petitioner, he will be released on bail upon execution of a bond for Rs. 5 lakh by the petitioner and two acceptable sureties, each with an equal amount; the petitioner will appear before the IO as and when required;
Petitioner is not permitted to contact, speak with, or attempt to contact the victim or any witness; The petitioner shall refrain from attacking the victim or her family through social media or other channels; Without the prior approval of the jurisdictional Court, the petitioner may not leave the state of Kerala, and they must cooperate with the inquiry.
The first case was filed against Babu during the MeToo revelations, and later, in a Facebook live, Babu revealed the name of the victim while denying the allegations. A separate FIR was then registered against him under Section 228A (disclosure of the identity of the victim in certain offences) of IPC.
Babu pleaded before the Court through Advocate S Rajeev, and the Court granted him interim protection. Senior Advocate Gracious Kuriakose, Additional Director General of Prosecution (ADGP), and the State prosecution focused their arguments on the plea’s maintainability, given that it was filed while Babu was evading arrest. Section 438 of CrPc, according to the Court, does not include such a severe obligation.
The de facto complainant’s attorney, R Rajesh, contested the bail request, claiming that the facts presented by the complainant must be considered objectively, particularly in light of Babu’s admission to the police that he did have sex with her. The Court, however, ruled in its judgement that during the stage of anticipatory bail, it is not proper to exhaustively scrutinize information acquired by the inquiry which is designed for the stage of a trial.