The Bombay High Court has granted pre-arrest bail to a pregnant woman accused of abetting her husband’s suicide, saying it was the duty of the court to ensure the woman and the baby are protected.
A vacation bench of Justice Milind Jadhav in its May 30 order, a copy of which was made available on Wednesday, noted that the offence registered against the woman is serious.
“But, since the applicant is a pregnant woman, it is the duty of the court to ensure that she and the baby are protected,” the high court said.
The woman, Ashwini Sonwane, is currently six months’ pregnant.
She approached the high court, apprehending arrest in the FIR registered against her at the Yawat police station in Pune under Indian Penal Code Section 306 (abetment of suicide) in April this year, following a complaint lodged by her father-in-law.
The complaint was lodged after Ms Sonwane’s husband Rahul allegedly committed suicide in April. The man’s father claimed Ms Sonawane had betrayed his son, and that a month before the incident, she had fought with his son and left for her parents’ house.
However, Ms Sonwane in her plea refuted the allegations, and claimed her father-in-law had been demanding dowry from her due to which her husband was under stress.
The woman further said her relationship with her husband was cordial and that at the time of the alleged incident, she was three months pregnant.
The court in its order noted that the offence registered was serious and attracts a maximum punishment of 10 years in jail, if found guilty.
“However, looking at the fact that the applicant is 25 weeks pregnant and carrying a foetus, it is equally the duty of the court to ensure that the applicant and the foetus are protected at this stage and the applicant is not kept under any duress or stress,” Justice Jadhav said in the order.
At this stage, the applicant may have to visit the hospital regularly and may also require care and rest after delivery, the high court said.
The court, while granting anticipatory bail to the woman on a personal bond of ₹ 25,000, also directed her to appear before the police station concerned for recording her statement.