"Duty of a Mother Not Defined": Karnataka HC Grants Bhavani Revanna Anticipatory Bail


In a landmark decision, the High Court granted anticipatory bail to Bhavani Revanna, accused of involvement in the kidnapping of a woman allegedly sexually assaulted by her son. The Court dismissed the State's criticism of Revanna, clarifying that a mother’s legal duty to prevent her adult children from committing crimes is not stipulated in law.

"What duty a mother owes in law to prevent her major children from committing offenses, has not been shown by turning the pages of statute book or by citing rulings," the Court remarked.

Bhavani Revanna was granted interim anticipatory bail earlier, contingent upon her cooperation with the investigation and a restriction from entering Mysore and Hassan, where the crime reportedly took place. This interim order was made final, as the Court found the State's allegation of non-cooperation unsubstantiated.

Special Public Prosecutor and Senior Advocate Prof Ravivarma Kumar argued that Revanna misled the investigation by giving false answers. However, the Court asserted that the police cannot dictate how an accused should respond. "The police cannot insist that an accused should give answers in the way the police desire. After all in our evolved Criminal Jurisprudence, an accused is presumed to be innocent and that she has a constitutional guarantee against compulsive self-incrimination vide Article 20(3)," the order stated.

The Court also noted discrepancies in the initial complaint. The first information report (FIR) filed by the victim's son implicated HD Revanna and one Satish Babanna but not Bhavani Revanna. The Court found merit in Senior Advocate CV Nagesh’s argument that Section 364A (kidnapping for ransom) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was not applicable to Bhavani Revanna.

"There is not even a whisper that the argued risk to abductee’s life is at the instance of the petitioner (Bhavani Revanna)... the contention that the case involves heinous offenses that should abhor the request for bail, regular or anticipatory, does not merit acceptance," the Court observed.

Reiterating the principle that "bail is the rule and jail the exception," the High Court emphasized that the Constitution advocates a Welfare State, not "Idi Amin jurisprudence." It underscored the need to examine whether custodial interrogation was necessary.

"Makers of the Constitution have founded a Welfare State for us in the light of lessons drawn from the experience during the Colonial Regime. Our Constitution does not enact Idi Amin Jurisprudence, nor does our Criminal Justice System," the order said.

Despite Bhavani Revanna's political background, the Court held this alone insufficient to deny anticipatory bail, noting her stable family life and societal roots. It also mentioned that the police could seek bail cancellation if she violated any conditions or abused her privileges.

This ruling underscores the High Court's commitment to upholding individual rights while ensuring justice and due process. The decision highlights the nuanced application of legal principles in the face of societal and political pressures.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer