The Allahabad High Court on Friday cancelled the bail granted to former UP minister Gayatri Prajapati and two others in a case of alleged rape of a woman and molestation of a minor, saying the lower court had acted in haste.
The HC had earlier stayed the April 25 order of the Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) granting bail to Samajwadi Party leader Prajapati and his associates Vikas Verma and Amrendra Singh alias Pintu.
Allowing the petition of the state government seeking cancellation of their bail, Justice AP Sahi on Friday questioned the manner in which the ASJ handled the matter saying "the entire process was concluded as if the grant of bail had been preordained".
In the circumstances, there cannot be a presumption of the impugned order having been passed in good faith, the judge said.
"Rather, the entire episode indicates that the manner in which the bail was granted almost on the eve of the retirement of the officer concerned, that too even without any opportunity being afforded to the prosecution in the real sense, the grant of bail was clearly vitiated," Justice Sahi said.
The ASJ did not discuss the ingredients of the provisions of the POCSO Act and its implications, said the HC, adding a court while dealing with such serious matters having the potential of wide ramifications has to act with gravity and patience.
It, however, said that the accused could move fresh pleas for bail to be decided on merit after affording adequate opportunity to the prosecution to present its case.
A woman had lodged an FIR with Gautam Palli police station here that Prajapati and his accomplice had raped her for years after promising her a mining license and they were trying to target her daughter.
The FIR was registered after the Supreme Court had pulled up the state government. The three accused were later granted bail.
HC Chief Justice Dilip B Bhosle had on the petition of the state government stayed the bail order. Prajapati was not released from jail while the two other accused had surrendered after the HC direction.