21 Nov 2023 8:43 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Monday granted bail to a man being prosecuted under Sections 302 (murder), 498A (cruelty) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) IPC, in relation to his wife’s death.“In view of the categoric opinion of the doctor that the cause of death is asphyxia as a result of antemortem hanging, it prima facie, appears that the medical evidence is not in accord with...
The Delhi High Court on Monday granted bail to a man being prosecuted under Sections 302 (murder), 498A (cruelty) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) IPC, in relation to his wife’s death.
“In view of the categoric opinion of the doctor that the cause of death is asphyxia as a result of antemortem hanging, it prima facie, appears that the medical evidence is not in accord with the prosecution version”, it said.
In arriving at the conclusion, the court noted that the petitioner had been in custody for 2.5 years, all material witnesses had been examined, as well as that he had got remarried and his wife was on family way.
Notably, the FIR was initially registered against the petitioner under Section 306 (abetment of suicide), when his wife was declared brought dead at GTB Hospital. According to the MLC, there were ligature marks on the neck of the deceased.
The complainant was deceased’s adoptive father, with whom the petitioner and deceased were living alongwith their children. He had alleged that the petitioner was demanding money.
The deceased’s biological father had given a statement under Section 161 CrPC, where it was recorded that after marriage, the deceased would come to his house and complain that the petitioner tortured her for money.
In Section 164 CrPC statement, daughter of the deceased had said that on the day of the incident, she had heard the petitioner tell her mother (deceased) that he would kill her. The son had stated that he had seen the petitioner strangulating his mother.
In support of the petitioner’s case, his counsel had urged that chargesheet had already been filed. The children’s statements were attempted to be discredited on the ground that those were recorded 46 days after the incident, and in the meantime, they were in the custody of their maternal grandparents.
It was added that no complaint whatsoever had been made against the petitioner w.r.t. cruelty or dowry demand.
In its analysis, the court referred to the Supreme Court’s decision in State of UP v. Amarmani Tripathi where factors relevant to grant of bail were stated to include, (i) whether there is any prima facie or reasonable ground to believe that the accused had committed the offence (ii) danger of the accused fleeing, if released on bail; and (iii) reasonable apprehension of witnesses tampering.
As the petitioner’s children were living with their maternal grandparents since death of their mother, the court held that tutoring could not be ruled out.
On the basis of Modi’s “A Textbook of Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology”, a distinction was drawn between suicidal death and homicidal death due asphyxia. It was considered that in the postmortem report, the doctor had not opined that the death had occurred on account of strangulation.
Perusing testimony of the deceased’s biological father, Justice Vikas Mahajan said:
“PW-1, though in his examination in chief has stated that his daughter used to tell him that the petitioner would demand Rs. 5 lacs from her for purchasing a plot but in his cross examination he has feigned ignorance as to the date when the said demand was made by the petitioner/.”
On testimony of deceased’s adoptive father with regard to petitioner having demanded Rs.5 lacs, the court said that there was an improvement over what was stated to the police under Section 161 Cr.P.C.
Opining that at the stage of bail, it could not shut its eyes to the gaps in evidence, the court left the probative value of evidence placed on record and the credibility of the witnesses to be determined by the trial court.
Mr. Habibur Rehman, Advocate appeared for petitioner
Ms. Rupali Bandhopadya, ASC appeared for State
Case Title: Rihan v. The State (GNCTD)
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 1147
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