Petitioners were released on bail upon furnishing bail bonds after being arrested for dowry death under Section 304-B/34 of the Indian Penal Code.: High court of Patna

The petitioner was arrested under Section 304-BIPC, “Dowry death, where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage if she was subjected to cruelty or har­assment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, Section 34 IPC, “Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention.” This is in connection with Sherghati PS Case No. 97 of 2020 dated 02.03.2020

This Judgment was given in the high court of Judicature at Patna on the 20th of July 2021 by the honorable Mr. Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah in the case of Gangotri Devi Versus the state of Bihar criminal miscellaneous No.37698 of 2020, Mr. Vikram represented as the advocate for the petitioner and Ms. Veena Kumari represented as the additional Public Prosecutor for the state of Bihar, the proceedings of the court were held through video conference.

The following are the facts of the case, the petitioners were accused of strangulating their daughter-in-law (now deceased) due to non-fulfillment of demand of money for purchasing a milch cow. Therefore the informant (father of the deceased filed a case for dowry death).

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the marriage took place six years back and the couple had two male children which would falsify the allegation for the demand of money. The counsel submitted that according to the FIR the informant stated that 15 days prior to the death of his daughter, the deceased had been physically assaulted and was threatened to be killed, but since no step has been taken such allegation is false. It was further submitted that in the postmortem report, there was a ligature mark on the neck which was clearly caused due to hanging which leads to asphyxia and no other injury was found on her body, therefore the allegations against the petitioners were falsely implicated.

The counsel brought to light the fact that the husband of the deceased was not accused and since there were differences between the couple and what transpired between them is not known to the petitioners and she committed suicide and there is no mark of any assault or any forcible action was found on the body during the postmortem, therefore, petitioners cannot be held liable for the same. The counsel held that the petitioners have no criminal antecedent and no previous complaint made before any authority with regard to torture or demand for dowry or cruelty.

The additional Public prosecutor submitted that the petitioners must not be given bail as they had strangulated the deceased because she did not fulfill the demand of money for purchasing a milch cow and the death was caused within six years of marriage under section 304 B IPC is clearly stated seven years, therefore, it is a definite picture of dowry death.

After considering the facts and circumstances of the case the court held that the petitioners will be released on bail upon furnishing bail bonds of Rs. 25,000 each with two sureties to the Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate, subject to the conditions laid down in Section 438(2) Cr.P.c., 1973  “(i) that one of the bailors shall be a close relative of the petitioners, (ii) that the petitioners and the bailors shall execute the bond and give an undertaking with regard to the good behavior of the petitioners, and (iii) that the petitioners shall cooperate with the Court and police/prosecution.”

The court concluded that “Any violation of the terms and conditions of the bonds or undertaking or failure to cooperate shall lead to cancellation of their bail bonds. It shall also be open for the prosecution to bring any violation of the foregoing conditions of bail by the petitioners, to the notice of the Court concerned, which shall take immediate action on the same after giving the opportunity of hearing to the petitioners.”

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