The Supreme Court has directed the Director General of Police, Bihar and Registrar General of the Patna High Court to explain why it took 21 years to arrest a man accused in a dowry death case.
FIR was lodged on 02.02.1999 by the brother of a deceased woman alleging that her husband and family had harassed her for dowry. He stated that funeral ceremonies were completed by the husband of the woman and his family without informing the her side of the family. 10 years later, a charge sheet was filed in the case against all the accused named in the FIR. The final report notes that "sufficient evidence has been made available for chargesheet against all the accused named in the FIR".
Earlier this year, after the High court dismissed his anticipatory bail plea. It noted that as per the case diary a "very highly poisonous substance was detected in the viscera examination of the deceased". It was on 07.06.2020, the accused was arrested. His bail pleas were dismissed by the Sessions Court and the High Court.
"The flagrant delay in conducting the investigation and prosecution of the accused in connection with the serious crime involving the death of a young married woman is extremely troubling, and the reasons for the same are unclear.", said the bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose while considering the appeal filed by the accused husband.
The court added that it is 'quite alarming' that no actions were taken by the police against the accused. The materials placed on record indicate a shocking state of affairs, the bench said.
The bench, while dismissing the bail plea, also issued notice to the Director General of Police, Bihar and Registrar General of the Patna High Court. The court directed them to place a report about the particulars of the case and also reasons behind such inordinate delay.
Case: Bachcha Pandey vs. State of Bihar [Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No.4769/2020]
Coram: Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose