Madhya Pradesh High Court Imposes Community Service for Bail in Sexual Harassment Case

Mainstream
22-May-2024
blog-img

In a notable decision, the Madhya Pradesh High Court has imposed community service as a condition for granting temporary bail to a college student accused of sexual harassment. The case, *Abhishek Sharma v. The State of Madhya Pradesh*, involves a first-year BBA student arrested for allegedly harassing a girl through WhatsApp and making vulgar calls.

Justice Anand Pathak, in the order dated May 16, expressed the need to balance the severity of the allegations with the opportunity for rehabilitation. "The applicant is a student, therefore, a chance be given for course correction so that he can mend his ways to become a better citizen by not involving in criminal activities," the order stated.

The Court agreed with the defense counsel's suggestion to grant temporary bail for two months, emphasizing that the accused engage in community service and creative pursuits to mitigate his ego and reform his behavior. The accused was arrested on April 4 under charges including Section 354(D) of the IPC and Sections 11 and 12 of the POCSO Act.

Highlighting the impact of prolonged confinement on the student’s academic prospects, the Court noted the accused’s undertaking not to harass the complainant further and the assurance from his parents to oversee his conduct. "After going through the entire case diary and the submissions of respondent/State, it appears that allegations are very ugly in nature and it is not expected from a student of BBA," Justice Pathak remarked.

The bail conditions imposed require the student to render services at the District Hospital in Bhopal every Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 1 pm. His role will be limited to assisting patients in the external department, ensuring he does not administer any medication or enter sensitive areas like the operation theatre. The Court stressed that the doctors would supervise to prevent any harm to patients, thus allowing the applicant to contribute positively without causing discomfort or infection.

"This will help him integrate into mainstream society and enable him to work as a disaster management volunteer in his area," the Court added, noting the educational benefits of the imposed tasks.

Advocate Sourabh Bhushan Shrivastava represented the accused, while Government Advocate Vivek Lakhera appeared for the State. The case is scheduled for the next hearing on July 22, by which time the Court will review the compliance with the imposed conditions.

By setting such a precedent, the High Court aims to balance punitive measures with opportunities for rehabilitation, emphasizing the importance of corrective justice in shaping better societal conduct.

Author: Anushka Taraniya 

News Writer, MIT ADT University