The Supreme Court Thursday expressed surprise over interim bail granted by the Allahabad High Court to a former Uttar Pradesh government counsel, accused of raping a junior lawyer, despite the dismissal of a similar plea by it earlier.
The Lucknow bench of the high court on September 3 had granted interim bail to former additional chief standing counsel Shailendra Singh Chauhan in the rape case on the ground that he was an advocate with the standing of 29 years.
Setting aside the high court order, a bench headed by Justice R F Nariman noted the bail was granted despite the fact that it had on August 5 stayed an earlier bail order of the division bench of the high court in the same matter.
"By an interim order dated September 3, a Single Judge of the Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench, has granted interim bail on a bond being given until the next date of hearing. The reasons given are that the petitioner is a reputed Advocate of 29 years and there are no criminal antecedents.
"We are surprised that the High Court should act in the teeth of our order dated August 05. This is a very serious case which must be investigated properly so that the truth ultimately will come out," said the bench, also comprising Justices Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee.
The order came on the plea of the complainant lawyer filed through advocate Utkarsh Singh.
After the decision of the top court, the accused lawyer had moved the anticipatory bail plea before the lower court which rejected it on August 19.
A single judge bench of Justice C D Singh of the high court had granted interim bail to Chauhan in the rape case which irked the top court.
The high court had directed the Uttar Pradesh police on July 31 not to arrest Chauhan.
The junior lawyer, aged about 24 years, had lodged an FIR against Chauhan at the Vibhuti Khand police station in Gomtinagar here on July 24, alleging that Chauhan had raped her in his chamber the same day.
Chauhan has been accused under Sections 328 (causing hurt by means of poison, etc with intent to commit an offence), 354(A) (sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment), and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code.
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