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The Meghalaya High Court on Thursday granted bail to rape accused and former militant Julius Kitbok Dorphang on the grounds of medical exigency.
According to an order passed by the Single Bench of Justice W Diengdoh on Thursday, Dorphang shall execute a personal bond of ₹ 50,000 along with two solvent sureties of like amount, to the satisfaction of the respective Trial Courts, that is, one set before the Court of the Special Judge (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences-POCSO), Nongpoh and one before the Special Judge (POCSO), Jowai.
“That he shall not abscond but shall be present in Court as and when required; that he shall not leave the jurisdiction of India without prior permission from the Trial Courts,” read the order.
This is the fifth bail application filed on behalf of Dorphang, who is in judicial custody for about three years and ten months or so.
The former chairman of the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) is facing trial in two courts, one before the Special Judge (POCSO) at Nongpoh and another before the Special Judge (POCSO) at Jowai.
GENESIS OF THE MATTER
The genesis of the matter stemmed from a complaint filed on 23.12.2016 by the Chairperson, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Meghalaya to the Superintendent of Police, East Khasi Hills district, Shillong to the effect that the accused had illicit sexual intercourse with a minor girl which is a violation of the child’s right to life and dignity, the order stated.
A second complaint was filed on 05.01.2017, again by the Chairperson State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Meghalaya, alleging that the accused had committed a similar offence against the same minor victim somewhere within the jurisdiction of Nongpoh, Ri-Bhoi District.
JULIUS’s MEDICAL CONDITION
As per the order, the counsel for the petitioner, K. Ch. Gautam had submitted that Dorphang has been referred to NEIGRIHMS and was admitted in the ICCU since his health condition has deteriorated to the extent that he requires special treatment, which could be afforded by the family members in any private hospital for which prayer for enlargement on bail is made herein.
“The accused was (also) hospitalised for more than a month and there is no sign of any improvement and as on 24.11.2020, it is understood that more tests are required to be carried out on the accused and his condition has further deteriorated for which initially, the petitioner has made a prayer before this Court for calling of the latest medical report from NEIGRIHMS, which is now produced before this Court,” read the order.
The Government Advocate (GA), R. Gurung, in his submission before the Court, has opposed the prayer for grant of bail on behalf of the Dorphang on the ground that many similar applications have been filed on account of sickness, however, the accused being treated at NEIGRIHMS is well taken care of as the said Institution is one of the best in the North-East “and as such, there is no requirement for granting bail to the accused at this juncture”.
According to the medical report submitted by the Medical Superintendent NEIGRIHMS, the complaint of the patient/accused includes chest pain, giddiness and history of presyncope.
“On examination, the patient shows Sinus Bradycardia, which is a type of slow heartbeat, the patient’s heartbeat being at a minimum of 40 per minutes with 2 Atrial Premature Complexes (APC) and has been planned for Electrophysiological Study (EPS) followed by permanent pacemaker if required. MRI brain done on 19.11.2020 also showed chronic right cerebellar infarct (or cerebellar stroke) with ischemic white matter changes (Fazekas grade II),” read the order.
“What can be understood from the above is that the patient/accused is undergoing treatment for what has been diagnosed are symptoms of stroke and dementia, which if not properly attended to, may aggravate.”
“Having considered all aspect of the matter, this Court is of the considered opinion that the present medical condition of the accused/UTP qualifies as a change in circumstances, which would then enable the prayer of the petitioner herein for grant of bail to the accused/patient to be considered.”
(Edited by Ibankyntiew Mawrie)