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Bail granted to an accused with a mental illness despite the societal tendency to disregard mental health issues as illnesses: Himachal Pradesh High Court

The court grants bail to an accused with a mental illness despite the societal tendency to disregard mental health issues as illnesses, is upheld by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh through the learned Judge JUSTICE KULDIP SINGH, in the case of ,

Ajay Chandel v. Himachal Pradesh State (Criminal Miscellaneous Petition (Main) No. 81 Of 2012).

Brief facts of the case:

Petitioner was detained on November 20, 2011. The enquiry has shown that the petitioner destroyed the SIM card of the deceased’s mobile phone on November 17, 2011. The enquiry has also shown that the petitioner and the deceased were in love for the last 1 1/2 years. On 16.11.2011, the petitioner brought the decedent to Kapurthala to execute a marriage, however the decedent was not interested in being married. In addition, it has been asserted that the petitioner’s brother, Pankaj Chandel, and the petitioner themselves subjected the dead to mental torment by alternating between affirmative and negative responses on the petitioner’s marriage to the deceased, Ranjana. In these conditions, Ranjana got off the bus at Baner, ingested a deadly chemical, began vomiting, and finally died. The research revealed that Ranjana belonged to a Scheduled Caste. Pankaj Chandel was arrested on 20.12.2011 and freed on bail by the Sessions Judge of Bilaspur on 05.01.2012. The origin of the toxin could not be determined. According to medical opinion, Ranjana Devi died after ingesting an organophosphate pesticide owing to cardiorespiratory failure ( Diclorus). The petitioner’s bail motion was denied by the learned Sessions Judge on January 5, 2012. The challan was created on 31.01.2012 and is now under review. It has been argued that if the petitioner is granted bail, he will have the ability to influence the prosecution’s witnesses. The argument has been presented for the denial of the bail application.

The status report reveals that petitioner and deceased Ranjana were in love for around two years. According to the status report, Ranjana exited the bus at Baner and took poison, although the source of the poison has not been identified. According to the prosecution, petitioner and his brother Pankaj alternately approved and disapproved of petitioner’s marriage to Ranjana. According to the decedent’s father, Ranjana became engaged around three to four months ago. The prosecution further contends that the deceased belonged to a Scheduled Caste. In the status report, it is also mentioned that the decedent did not wish to conduct the marriage, while it is also said that the petitioner seduced the decedent and was taking her to Kapurthala to complete the marriage.

 

JUDGEMNET:

The court cited the case S.S.Chheena vs. Vijay Kumar Mahajan, in which it was determined that abetment entails a mental process of inciting or wilfully assisting a person in doing an act. A conviction cannot be supported in the absence of a positive act on the part of the accused to incite or help in committing suicide. For a person to be convicted of an offence under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, there must be a clear intent to commit the offence. It also needs an active or direct act that led the dead to believe he had no other alternative than to commit himself, and that act must have been intended to place the deceased in a situation in which he committed suicide. The prosecution has not cited any prior writings or complaints from the complainant or the deceased regarding the conduct or behaviour of the petitioner towards the deceased, nor has the prosecution cited any unrefutable evidence suggesting that the petitioner was instrumental in compelling the deceased to take the ultimate step of poisoning herself. In light of the facts and circumstances of this case, the petitioner has put out a case for bail under Section 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Accordingly, the application was permitted. The court orders the release on bail of the petitioner.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – HARILAKSHMI

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