Supreme Court grants bail to 2 Kerala lawyers accused of raping their client

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On May 13, 2024, the Supreme Court (SC) bench constituting Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Hrishikesh Roy granted bail to 2 Kerala lawyers (M.J. Johnson and Philip K.K.) accused of raping their client. They were arrested by the Kerala Police on May 06, 2024. Earlier in October 2023, the Kerala High Court granted bail to the accused. Aggrieved by the decision of the HC, the victim approached the SC challenging the decision of the High Court. The top Court bench stayed the order of the HC granting anticipatory bail to the accused. Yesterday (May 13), the bench heard learned senior counsels Mr. V Chitambaresh and Mr. R. Basant appearing for the petitioner and the respondents (1 and 2) respectively. 

During the proceedings, learned senior counsel Mr. Chitambaresh submitted that “the respondents (accused) are lawyers and were in a dominant position so far as the victim is concerned and therefore the High Court erred in granting anticipatory bail to them, under the impugned order dated 18.10.2023.” Learned senior counsel Mr. Basant contended that “the respondents were taken into custody on 06.05.2024 and currently they are lodged in jail.” Furthermore, learned senior counsel Mr. Jayanth Muth Raj who appeared for the State of Kerala said that the investigation of the case is in process. 

After hearing the matter, the bench granted bail to the 2 lawyers stating that “Having considered the circumstances here and more particularly the fact that the respondent Nos. 1 and 2 were arrested, we deem it appropriate to grant bail to both accused i.e., M.J. Johnson and Philip K.K.” It further ordered that the trial court can impose any other bail condition that is considered necessary after hearing the Public Prosecutor. Therefore, the order of the HC granting anticipatory bail to the accused was set aside and quashed by the SC bench.