The Supreme Court on July 10 has given Assam a four-week extension to file its counter affidavit in response to the plea by Indian Youth Congress (IYC) president B V Srinivas. Srinivas had challenged the Gauhati High Court's decision to reject his anticipatory bail plea in a harassment case. The apex court had earlier provided interim protection from arrest to Srinivas in May. The case was heard by a bench of Justices B R Gavai and J B Pardiwala on Monday.
During the hearing, the state's counsel requested additional time to file the counter affidavit. Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Srinivas, confirmed that his client had cooperated with the investigation. The bench granted a four-week period for the state to file the counter affidavit, followed by an additional two weeks for Srinivas to file a rejoinder. The next hearing has been scheduled after six weeks.
In its earlier order, the Supreme Court had noted the delay in filing the First Information Report (FIR) and granted interim protection to Srinivas. The court directed that in the event of arrest, Srinivas shall be released on anticipatory bail upon providing a solvent surety of Rs 50,000, along with one or more sureties of the same amount. The court also instructed Srinivas to cooperate with the investigation and appear before the police and the National Commission for Women as required.
The Gauhati High Court, while rejecting Srinivas' anticipatory bail plea, returned the case diary and stated that it did not find the case suitable for granting pre-arrest bail, except for charges under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) related to assault or use of criminal force on a woman to outrage her modesty. Srinivas' counsel argued that the alleged offenses were bailable and occurred outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Dispur police station.
The case stems from a complaint filed by a woman at the Dispur police station, accusing Srinivas of persistent harassment, physical manhandling, and making sexist comments. She also alleged threats to her if she reported his behavior to senior party officials. The woman's claims were shared on social media, prompting a police notice to Srinivas. Subsequently, she was expelled from the primary membership of the party by the Congress for anti-party activities.
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