The High Court of Bombay, while maintaining that a bail plea couldn’t be entertained without the applicants being taken into custody, directed 3 women accused of provoking the wife of their deceased son/brother to die by suicide, to appear before the magistrate & then apply for bail.
The HC held the applicants had abused the process of law while surrendering before the magistrate earlier & immediately applying for bail without being subjected to questioning in the case which was serious in nature, & hence rejected their bail plea.
A Single-Judge bench of Justice Prakash D Naik passed an order on bail applications of three women, which included a mother & her two daughters, booked by Shikrapur police station in Pune in Sept 2020 for offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code sections 306 (abetment of suicide) & 498-A (domestic violence).
The women, along with 3 other family members were accused of abetting suicide of their daughter-in-law/sister-in-law a month after her husband’s demise. The woman had died in Sept 2020 by jumping into a well in Pune’s Shirur taluka.
Police had registered a case of abetment of suicide against 6 persons, including the deceased woman’s mother-in-law & her 2 daughters.
Thereafter, the three women made an anticipatory bail plea in the Sessions Court & subsequently before the HC & Apex Court, but all of these were rejected. The Supreme Court said it was open for the women to surrender & then apply for regular bail, which shall be considered by the magistrate court expeditiously in accordance with law.
On Jan 12, the women approached the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) at Shirur, stating the applicants were surrendering before the Court & applying for bail at the same time. The Magistrate, however, rejected their bail plea, following which they approached the sessions court again, which on Feb 16 rejected their plea, prompting them to approach the HC.
Appearing for the applicants, Lawyer Ajinkya Udane contended before High Court that while their surrender was not accepted, the applicants are women with one of them having a small child. He contended that as they are falsely implicated, they deserved to be released on bail.
The bench on April 1 observed, “The applicants are seeking bail without undergoing custody. It would be a mockery of justice to grant bail to the applicants by entertaining this application in the peculiar facts of this case.”
Justice Naik held the application to be “wholly misconceived” & circumventing provisions of CrPC. “This is a clear case of abuse of the process of law,” he said.
Rejecting the bail pleas, the court directed the three women to appear before the JMFC & said, “Pursuant to subjecting the applicants to custody, the applicants will be at liberty to prefer application for bail before JMFC. Which may be dealt with in accordance with law.”