22 Dec 2021 10:47 AM GMT
While hearing the bail applications preferred by the husband and in-laws of a 2nd year LLB student, Mofiya Parveen, who died by suicide citing domestic abuse and dowry harassment, the Kerala High Court took a firm stand that it will not be influenced by the public opinion or media coverage of the issue. Justice Gopinath P disclosed this view when Public Prosecutor informed the Court that...
While hearing the bail applications preferred by the husband and in-laws of a 2nd year LLB student, Mofiya Parveen, who died by suicide citing domestic abuse and dowry harassment, the Kerala High Court took a firm stand that it will not be influenced by the public opinion or media coverage of the issue.
Justice Gopinath P disclosed this view when Public Prosecutor informed the Court that this matter be heard expeditiously and to decline bail to the applicants, 'to send a strong message to the society'.
"Don't argue like that. They have not been convicted yet, and this is not a punishment; it is only to aid the ongoing investigation. I am not going to be influenced by any public opinion or media report. Let there be hundreds of media reports, let there be hundreds of panellists on hundreds of chat shows," the Judge remarked orally.
The Bench then inquired with the prosecution if it had gone through the latest judgement of the Supreme Court where it was held that it was appropriate to release a person, accused in a non-bailable offence, on bail, if his custody was not required during the period of investigation.
"Have you seen the latest judgement of the Supreme Court on bail by Justices Kaul and Sundaresh? I'm asking because you said this is a message to the society. What did the lordships say about the philosophy of bail?"
The Court also mentioned a US decision on the inapplicability of media trials on the administration of justice:
"There is a classic judgement on cases which attract media attention from the USA which says 'we do not administer justice in this country by plebiscite'."
The Court noted that this case required an elaborate hearing. However, since the court vacation is due to start tomorrow and the Judge had a heavy board before him, it declined to issue any haste orders and posted the matter to be heard after reopening.
A few months after meeting on a social media platform and falling in love, Parveen and the petitioner Suhail got married in April this year and were residing together at the matrimonial house.
According to her, her husband and his parents mentally and physically harassed her with demands for more gold and Rs. 40 lakhs as dowry. It is also alleged that they demanded that her parents purchase a property next to the matrimonial residence for the in-laws to reside in.
The prosecution also submitted that the mother-in-law, who is the 2nd petitioner herein, treated Parveen like a maid, making her do domestic chores and threatening to get Suhail married to a doctor. It is contended that she kept pushing the 21-year-old to leave her son Suhail.
Soon, Parveen was served with a talaq notice by her husband. All these led to her taking her life leaving behind a suicide note, the prosecution alleged. The hapless father of the deceased, who is the de facto complainant herein, soon filed a statement before the Police.
However, most of these contentions have been denied by the petitioners. According to them, Parveen had behavioural problems even before the marriage and that the gravity of the same was disclosed to them only after the wedding.
They have also alleged that she used to intimidate the petitioner with suicide threats every time she needed him to accede to her needs and that it was the mental trauma from such behaviour that separated him mentally from the deceased.
The application filed through Advocate Abhilash K.N. alleged that the initial FIR was registered under Section 174 CrPC but was later altered to incorporate Sections 498A, 304B and 306 r/w 34 IPC.
The petitioners contend that this alteration was a consequence of the de facto complainant's statement. It was further argued that the said offences would not be attracted against them as per the decision in Harikrishnan & Anr v. State of Kerala & Anr [2019 (3) KHC 437]. In the said case, it was decided that the proximity of time between the alleged act of abetment by the accused and the act of the victim is absolutely necessary.
On this ground, it was mentioned that there was no proximate cause of the incident on the part of the petitioners and that they had not raised any demand immediately prior to the incident and that they were separated 4 months before the incident.
The application further stated that the petitioner had divorced the deceased on 27th October after several rounds of mediation. It also pointed out that Parveen had allegedly slapped the petitioner for no apparent reason in front of a police officer. It may be noted that the Sessions Court had refused to grant bail to the petitioners herein earlier this month.
Case Title: Mohammed Suhail & Ors. v State of Kerala & Anr.