HC rejects bail application of in-laws, relatives of abetment to suicide victim


Bail App No.213/2020,
CrlM Nos.1292,1531 &

Reserved on: 16.12.2020
Pronounced on: 22 .12.2020
Urvinder Singh and others ... Petitioner(s)
Through: - Mr. Abhinav Sharma Sr. Advocate with
Mr. Abhimanyu Sharma , Advocate.
Union Territory of J&K th. Police Station Poonch
Through: - Mr. Aseem Sawhney AAG

1 Through the medium of instant petition, the petitioners are seeking bail in anticipation of their arrest in FIR No. 155/2020 for offence under Section 306 IPC registered with Police Station, Poonch.
2 The facts giving rise to filing of this petition are that on 21.03.2019, an information was received by the Police of Police Station, Poonch that deceased Jaspreet Kour, while being admitted in District Hospital Poonch, had died in suspicious circumstances. Inquest proceedings under Section 174 of Cr.P.C were initiated. During the inquest proceedings, the statements of witnesses under Section 175 of Cr.P.C were recorded and postmortem of dead body of the deceased was conducted. As per the medical report, the death of the deceased had taken place due to poisoning. On the basis of the report of inquest proceedings, FIR No. 155/2020 for offence under Section 306 IPC came to be registered and investigation was set into motion.
3 During the course of investigation, a suicide note alleged to have been written by the deceased lady was produced by her father before the police wherein the deceased lady had alleged acts of cruelty and harassment against her by the petitioners. It came to fore, during the investigation of the case, that about 10/11 years back, the deceased lady had entered into wedlock with one Jaswinder Singh and out of this wedlock, one daughter was born. The husband of the deceased was drunkard and he was having some land dispute with his brothers, who wanted to grab the whole property. It also came to fore that on 30.01.2018, the husband of the deceased committed suicide and in this regard, FIR No.33/2019 for offence under Section 306 IPC was registered against the deceased lady on 20.03.2019. It is alleged that on the same day, the petitioners met the deceased lady and threatened her that she as well as her parents and brothers will be sent to the jail. It also came to fore that the deceased was driven to commit suicide due to the acts of cruelty committed upon her by the petitioners.
4 It is pertinent to mention here that the petitioner No.1 happens to be the brother, petitioners No. 2 to 4, happen to be the cousins and petitioners No. 5 and 6 happen to be the sisters of husband of the deceased lady.
5 The petitioners have sought bail in anticipation of their arrest on the grounds that they have been implicated in a false and frivolous case; that there is no material on record to show that the petitioners had instigated the deceased to commit suicide and that the petitioners are ready to abide by all terms and conditions that may be imposed by the Court in the event of grant of bail in their favour.
6 The bail application has been resisted by the respondents by filing objections thereto, in which, it has been stated that the petitioners are involved in a heinous and grave offence and, as such, they do not deserve any leniency; that the custodial interrogation of the petitioners is necessary to illicit the true facts. Besides this, the bail application has also been resisted by brother of the deceased lady who has been impleaded as respondent No.2 in the connected petition bearing CRM(M) No.349/2020
7 I have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record of the case including the case diary.
8 Learned senior counsel for the petitioners has primarily laid stress on the argument that in the instant case, offence under Section 306 IPC is not made out against the petitioners. According to him, even if the allegations made in the FIR against the petitioners are taken at their face value, it cannot be stated that the petitioners had abetted the commission of suicide by the deceased lady. Learned senior counsel has contended that as per the FIR, the petitioners had only warned the deceased lady about the consequences that would entail from her implication in the FIR with regard to suicide of her husband and this act of the petitioners cannot amount to instigation or aiding of suicide of the deceased. Learned senior counsel has relied upon the judgment of Supreme Court in the case of State of West Bengal vs. Indrajit Kundu (Crl. A. No.2181/2009, decided on 18.10.2019).
9 So far as the principles for grant of bail in anticipation of arrest are concerned, the same have been laid down by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia and ors vs. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 Supreme Court Cases 565. The Court has, while observing that the question, whether to grant bail or not, depends for its answer upon a variety of circumstances, the cumulative effect of which must enter into the judicial verdict, held as under:
"In regard to anticipatory bail, if the proposed accusation appears to stem not from motives of furthering the ends of justice but from some ulterior motive, the object being to injure and humiliate the applicant by having him arrested, a direction for the release of the applicant on bail in the event of his arrest would generally be made. On the other hand, if it appears likely, considering the antecedents of the applicant, that taking advantage of the order of anticipatory bail he will flee from justice, such an order would not be made. But the converse of these propositions is not necessarily true. That is to say, it cannot be laid down as an inexorable rule that anticipatory bail cannot be granted unless the proposed accusation appears to be actuated by mala fides; and, equally, that anticipatory bail must be granted if there is no fear that the applicant will abscond. There are several other considerations, too numerous to enumerate, the combined effect of which must weigh with the court while granting or rejecting anticipatory bail. The nature and seriousness of the proposed charges, the context of the events likely to lead to the making of the charges, a reasonable possibility of the applicant's presence not being secured at the trial, a reasonable apprehension that witnesses will be tampered with and "the larger interests of the public or the state" are some of the considerations which the court has to keep in mind while deciding an application for anticipatory bail. The relevance of these considerations was pointed out in The State v. Captain Jagjit Singh, which, though, was a case under the old Section 498 which corresponds to the present Section 439 of the Code. It is of paramount consideration to remember that the freedom of the individual is as necessary for the survival of the society as it is for the egoistic purposes of the individual. A person seeking anticipatory bail is still a free man entitled to the presumption of innocence. He is willing to submit to restraints on his freedom, by the acceptance of conditions which the court may think fit to impose, in consideration of the assurance that if arrested, he shall be enlarged on bail".
10 Relying upon the aforesaid judgment, the Supreme Court in the case of Siddharam Satlingappa Mhetre vs State Of Maharashtra And Ors, (2011) 1 Supreme Court Cases 694 has, while observing that no inflexible guidelines or straitjacket formula can be provided for grant or refusal of anticipatory bail, held that the following factors and parameters can be taken into consideration while dealing with the anticipatory bail:
"(i). The nature and gravity of the accusation and the exact role of the accused must be properly comprehended before arrest is made;
(ii). The antecedents of the applicant including the fact as to whether the accused has previously undergone imprisonment on conviction by a Court in respect of any cognizable offence;
(iii). The possibility of the applicant to flee from justice;
(iv). The possibility of the accused's likelihood to repeat similar or the other offences.
(v). Whether the accusations have been made only with the object of injuring or humiliating the applicant by arresting him or her.
(vi). Impact of grant of anticipatory bail particularly in cases of large magnitude affecting a very large number of people.
(vii). The courts must evaluate the entire available material against the accused very carefully. The court must also clearly comprehend the exact role of the accused in the case. The cases in which accused is implicated with the help of sections 34 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code, the court should consider with even greater care and caution because over implication in the cases is a matter of common knowledge and concern;
(viii). While considering the prayer for grant of anticipatory bail, a balance has to be struck between two factors namely, no prejudice should be caused to the free, fair and full investigation and there should be prevention of harassment, humiliation and unjustified detention of the accused;
(ix). The court to consider reasonable apprehension of tampering of the witness or apprehension of threat to the complainant;and
(x). Frivolity in prosecution should always be considered and it is only the element of genuineness that shall have to be considered in the matter of grant of bail and in the event of there being some doubt as to the genuineness of the prosecution, in the normal course of events, the accused is entitled to an order of bail".
11 In the light of the aforesaid principles laid down by the Supreme Court, let me now proceed to analysis the facts of the instant case.
12 As already noted, it has been vehemently contended by learned senior counsel for the petitioner that, even if the allegations made out in the subject FIR are taken at their face value, the offence under Section 306 IPC is not made out against the petitioners. In this regard, it is to be borne in mind that during the bail proceedings, it is not open to the Court to deeply analyze the merits of the prosecution case. However, while considering the bail application, frivolity and genuineness of the prosecution case is required to be gone into.
13 Adverting to the facts of the present case, it is correct that the deceased was booked for instigating her husband to commit suicide and in this regard, an FIR stands registered against her. It is also correct that merely because the petitioners had warned the deceased about the consequences of registration of FIR against her, it may not amount to abetment within the meaning of Section 306 IPC. But then the material on record of the case diary shows that the relation between the deceased and her-in-laws i.e., the petitioners herein have remained far from being cordial. There is material on record to show that she was being harassed from time to time by the petitioners and after the death of her husband, she as well as her daughter was divested of the family property as the mutation of inheritance with regard to the property was not attested, either in favour of the deceased or in favour of her daughter. The suicide letter left by the deceased repeatedly refers to the acts of harassment and cruelty inflicted upon the deceased by her-in-laws.
14 The question, whether the aforesaid facts and material would actually amount to a conduct on the part of the petitioners that was sufficient to drive the deceased to commit suicide, is a subject matter of investigation. At this stage, it would not be possible for this Court to come to the conclusion that the case of the prosecution against the petitioners is not genuine, particularly because there is material on record of the case diary to show that the relations between the deceased and the petitioners were strained and that the deceased was being subjected to ill treatment by her in-laws. The investigation of the case has just begun and it is at its infancy. The investigating agency is required to be given free hand to investigate the case from all its angles including the liberty of subjecting the petitioners to custodial interrogation, if need arises. Thus, if the petitioners are enlarged on anticipatory bail, the same may hamper the fair investigation of the case.
15 Another factor which is required to be taken into account while granting anticipatory bail to the petitioners is the nature and gravity of the accusation. In the instant case, the petitioners are alleged to have committed offence under Section 306 IPC. The said offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years. The alleged act of the petitioners has resulted in loss of life of a young lady. Thus, the offence for which the petitioners have been booked, is of a grave nature.
16 For the foregoing reasons, in the opinion of this Court, the petitioners do not deserve the concession of anticipatory bail at this stage. The application is found to be without any merit and the same along with connected applications stands dismissed.
CD file be returned to the concerned.
22.12.2020 JUDGE
“Sanjeev, PS”

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