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The post-mortem report does not, prima facie, show that there was the involvement of any other person or it was murder: High court of Patna

The petitioner was arrested under Section 304-B IPC, “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 and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or har­assment by her husband or any relative of her husband”, section 34 IPC, “Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention”. This present petition is in connection with Sitamarhi PS Case No. 261 of 2020 dated 25.05.2020.

In the high court of Judicature at Patna, this judgment was given by honorable Mr. Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah on the 17th of August 2021 in the case of Vinod Ram versus the state of Bihar criminal miscellaneous No.8930 of 2021, Mr. Uday Kumar Represented as the advocate for the petitioner and Mr. Ajay Kumar Jha represented the state of Bihar as the additional Public Prosecutor, the proceedings of the court were held via video conference.

The following are the facts of the case, the petitioner was accused of being party to the killing of his sister-in-law (brother’s wife) due to nonfulfillment of demand of motorcycle as dowry.

The counsel representing the petitioner held that according to the FIR the brother was the one who informed the informant who is the brother of the deceased on the 24th of May 2020 at 6 PM in the evening that the deceased had run away from her matrimonial home and when they searched for her, she was found dead in a pond the next

morning having a scratch on the right eye and swelling above her left eye. It was held that this case has been lodged merely on suspicion and there has been no event where the petitioner has demanded a motorcycle as he is only the brother. The marriage took place only two years back. It was later transpired that the husband himself called the informant regarding the same proves that the petitioner had no role in the same and the injuries resulted due to the fall in the pond and therefore the deceased had either committed suicide or met with an accident the same is also proved in the post-mortem report where no injury on the body was found. Further, the petitioner has no other criminal antecedent.

The additional public prosecutor held that the death took place just two years after the marriage which falls within seven years according to the law. therefore, is a presumption in the law of foul play. Just because the petitioner is only the brother of the husband of the deceased, he cannot shirk from the accusation of dowry death.

After considering  the facts and circumstances of the case the court held that “the fact that husband of the deceased had informed the informant about the deceased having run away indicates that there may have been some issue between the couple and further that the body being recovered the next morning from the pond only with one scratch on the right eye and one lump above the left eye, does not, prima facie, show that there was the involvement of any other person or it was murder, as it could have resulted from fall also.”

The court concluded that “the Court is persuaded to allow the prayer for pre-arrest bail. the petitioner will be released on bail upon furnishing bail bonds of Rs. 25,000 to the Judicial Magistrate, in connection to PS Case No. 261 of 2020, under Section 438(2) Cr.P.C. 1973  (i) that one of the bailors shall be a close relative of the petitioner and (ii) that the petitioner shall co-operate with the Court and police/prosecution. Failure to cooperate shall lead to the cancellation of his bail bonds. It shall also be open for the prosecution to bring any violation of the foregoing conditions of bail by the petitioner, to the notice of the Court concerned, which shall take immediate action on the same after giving the opportunity of hearing to the petitioner. The petition stands disposed of in the aforementioned terms.”

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