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Bail granted to 20-year-old booked after his “indifferent reaction” to girlfriend’s pregnancy led to her suicide: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court The Bombay High Court recently granted bail to a 20-year-old who was booked for abetment of suicide of his minor girlfriend after he had allegedly reacted “indifferently” to a WhatsApp message from her informing him that she was pregnant under the learned bench of  justices SARANG V. And KOTWAL, J in the case of Kunal Chabu Doke vs State of Maharashtra (BAIL APPLICATION NO.3550 OF 2021)

FACTS OF THE CASE

The prosecution case is that the appellant No.1 got married with Rekha on 15.6.2012. There was a demand of Rs.50,000/- initially which Rekha’s parents somehow managed to 2 of 22 :3: 201.apeal-547-18.odt pay. Even after that there was demand of Rs.50,000/- for digging a well. On both these counts, Rekha was continuously harassed by both the appellants and other family members. On 21.5.2014, the appellant No.1 left Rekha at her parental house. There was continuous demand of Rs.50,000/-. Ultimately, Rekha committed suicide by consuming poison on 26.5.2014. She was taken to hospital but efforts to save her were in vain. She died in the hospital. The FIR was lodged on 5.6.2014 at Kurduwadi police station vide C.R. No.81/2014. The appellants were arrested on 6.6.2014. Statements of witnesses were recorded. After death of the deceased immediately postmortem was conducted, viscera was preserved and it was sent for chemical analysis. Opinion regarding cause of death was reserved at the time of postmortem examination. The C.A. report was received. However, no poison was detected in the viscera. After that final opinion of the doctor was sought. It was opined that she had died due to poison. The investigation was completed. The charge-sheet was filed. The case was committed to the Court of Sessions.

OBSERVATION OF THE COURT:

The court directed that, “the appellant No.2 Rajabai Sudam Kanhere’s conviction under Section 498-A read with 34 of IPC is maintained. However, the substantive sentence imposed on her for this offence is reduced to the period which she has already undergone. In addition, she is sentenced to pay fine of Rs.500/- (Rupees Five Hundred Only) and in default of payment of fine, she shall undergo further RI for 15 days. The appellant No.1 Revan Sudam Kanhere’s conviction under Section 498-A read with 34 of IPC is maintained. However, the substantive sentence imposed on him shall be covered for the period which he has already undergone and no further substantive sentence survives against him for Section 498-A read with 34 of IPC. In addition, however, he is directed to pay Rs.500/- (Rupees Five Hundred Only) and in default of payment of fine he shall undergo RI for 15 days. The appellant No.1 Revan Sudam Kanhere’s conviction under Section 306 read with 34 of IPC is altered to that under Section 306 of IPC. He is sentenced to suffer RI for four years instead of ten years. In addition, he is sentenced to pay fine of Rs.1,000/- (Rupees One Thousand Only) and in default of payment of fine, he is directed to undergo RI for one month.”

The Court noted from the medical evidence that the deceased girl was not pregnant but had taken the extreme step after she had missed her periods by 2 weeks and a test using a pregnancy kit had returned a false positive.

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Judgement reviewed by – Sudarshana Jha

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