Karnataka High Court Grants Bail to Accused in 'Vigilante Justice' Case


In a significant development, the Karnataka High Court granted bail to eleven individuals accused of assaulting a woman in Belagavi after her son eloped with another girl. Justice S Vishwajith Shetty, considering various factors, including the absence of a criminal background, agricultural backgrounds, and the presence of women and a teenager among the accused, made the decision.

"Petitioners are basically agriculturists by avocation...Petitioners do not have any criminal background," Justice Shetty noted in the order.

The incident, which occurred before dawn on December 11, 2023, shocked the local community. Following the elopement of the victim's son with a girl from the village, who was betrothed to another man, the woman endured a brutal assault. She was reportedly tied to a pole, beaten, stripped, and paraded in the village.

Prompt intervention by the police, upon receiving a tip-off from a concerned villager, led to the woman's rescue.

Taking suo motu cognizance of the incident on December 12, 2023, the High Court swiftly initiated action, resulting in the arrest of the accused. Despite their applications for bail being rejected by the trial court, the accused persevered, eventually seeking relief from the High Court.

While the case has sparked outrage and highlighted issues of vigilante justice, the decision to grant bail underscores the nuanced considerations involved in legal proceedings. Factors such as the defendants' backgrounds and the nature of the alleged offense play pivotal roles in judicial determinations. 

The High Court's decision, while granting bail, does not absolve the accused of responsibility; rather, it reflects a recognition of their right to a fair legal process. As the case progresses, the pursuit of justice must navigate complexities while upholding the principles of law and equity.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer, MIT ADT University