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The accused can be granted bail only if evidence which has come on record overwhelmingly point towards non-involvement of accused in the case: High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh

Merely because sentence provided under Section 304-B RPC is seven years and extended up to life imprisonment, it cannot be said that the offence under this section do not have that seriousness which is attracted in case of murder and other heinous offences; these are the sensitive cases which deal with institution of marriage and should be dealt with utmost care and caution and it is not like that there is any bar in granting of bail in such like cases as upheld by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh through the learned bench led by Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul in the case of Manmeet Singh v. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (Bail App no.98/2020).

The brief facts of the case are that  on 28.06.2018, police station Sadder, Srinagar, received an information through reliable source that Pooja W/o Manmeet Singh, Srinagar, has ended her life by hanging herself at her residence. During inquest proceedings, postmortem of deceased was got conducted through a team of Medical Experts and various samples drawn during postmortem were forwarded to Director, FSL, Srinagar and HOD, Department of Pathology, GMC, Srinagar, for report/ expert opinion. During investigation, it is also stated by respondent, it came to surface that deceased was married petitioner and had a son out of the said wedlock and that family of deceased was not financially sound and the in-laws, which included husband, mother-in-law, father-in-law, and wife of brother-in-law used to mentally harass deceased for not being able to fulfil dowry demands, which seems to be circumstances under which death of deceased took place. Accordingly, FIR under Section 304-B, 498-A RPC was registered in police station Sadder, Srinagar and investigation was taken up. The statements of witnesses were recorded and offences were established against petitioner/applicant and others. The accused presons were arrested and charge sheet was produced before the court. Learned counsel appearing for applicant has stated that allegations made and levelled against petitioner/applicant are false, frivolous and without any basis.

The Hon’ble High Court held, “Since in the present case, the trial is in progress and if any finding or view is made by this Court while taking into account the statements of the witnesses or for that matter any finding on their credibility and evidential value at the stage of granting or refusing bail, it would seriously prejudice the prosecution case. The allegations against accused are serious and same cannot be determined that the allegations levelled against accused are either false or true and there is every chance that if applicant is enlarged on bail, he may influence the witnesses as he is facing trial for commission of offence, which is punishable with death or imprisonment for life. For the foregoing reasons, this is not a fit case for grant of bail. Bail application/petition along with connected CM(s) is, accordingly, dismissed.”

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani 

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