Karnataka High Court Jagadeesha vs The State Of Karnataka on 20 May, 2014Author: Anand Byrareddy
IN THE HIGH COURT OF KARNATAKA AT BANGALORE DATED THIS THE 20TH DAY OF MAY 2014
THE HONOURABLE MR.JUSTICE ANAND BYRAREDDY Criminal Petition No. 1867 of 2014
Aged about 29 years,
Hassan District – 56. …Petitioner (By Sri. Pratheep K.C., Advocate)
The State of Karnataka,
Rep. by Shravanabelagola Police
Station, Hassan District,
Rep. by its State Public Prosecutor,
High Court of Karnataka,
Bangalore – 01. … Respondent (By Sri. B.Visweswaraiah, Government Pleader) This Criminal Petition is filed under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, praying to enlarge the petitioner on bail in Crime No.13/2013 of Shravanabelagola P.S., Hassan, for the offences punishable under Sections 498A, 304B, 302 of IPC read with Sections 3, 4 and 6 of D.P. Act.
This Criminal Petition coming on for orders this day, the court made the following:
Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned Government Pleader.
The petitioner is accused of offences punishable under Sections 498A, 304B, 302 of IPC read with Sections 3, 4 and 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. It transpires that the petitioner was married to one Rani five years from the date of complaint and they have two children from the said marriage. It is alleged in the complaint that the deceased was harassed and ill-treated by her in- laws and the petitioner, for dowry. On the other hand, the complainant and his family members have stated that they have given a sum of Rs.1,00,000/- and 80 gms. of gold in the form of dowry. The petitioner was not satisfied with the same and demanded more and on this account, the deceased was harassed and ill-treated, which had driven her to commit suicide by hanging. It is on this basis that the complaint was lodged against the petitioner.
It transpires that the petitioner out of fear that he may be implicated in the very case that has been now lodged against him and that he would be physically assaulted by the family of the deceased, he had absconded and it is in this background that he -3-
had approached the Court below seeking bail and after taking him to custody, a charge sheet has been filed. The Court below has rejected the application for bail on the footing that if the petitioner were to be an innocent man, he would not have absconded for over 1½ months and his further contention that he has two young children whom he needs to take care of, has also been negated by the Court below, it has observed that if the children were to be really taken care of, then he would not have abandoned them. The contention that the children are living in a temple and are at the mercy of the villagers is also disbelieved while rejecting the application of the petitioner.
2. The learned counsel for the petitioner would point out that the prosecution has recorded the statements of various persons, some of whom are relatives of the deceased and her family. On the other hand, if prima facie, the alleged harassment by the petitioner was to be established, in the fitness of things, the neighbourers of the petitioner and the deceased would have been expected to be examined. There are no such statements recorded, but learned counsel for the petitioner candidly submits that the petitioner did abscond for 45 days with fear of assault by the -4-
family of the deceased and thereafter he has mustered courage to seek bail before the Court below after he was taken into custody.
3. The learned Government Pleader submits that there is no warrant for reconsideration of the petitioner’s case for bail, as the Court below has rightly rejected the bail. Having regard to the gravity of the alleged offence, namely, that there was constant harassment, which had driven the deceased to commit suicide, and which is within seven years from the date of marriage. This would be a grave circumstance, which would disentitle the petitioner to seek bail.
4. Given the circumstances of the case, the mere fact that the petitioner had absconded for over 1½ months has weighed very much on the Trail court’s mind in rejecting the bail application. The apprehension and fear with which the petitioner may have absconded is not readily accepted by the Court below. In any event, in the view of this Court, that the incident was within five years of the marriage and the couple had two children, the allegation that there was constant harassment and cruelty meted to the deceased by the petitioner would be expected to be established by reference to the evidence of the neighbourers of the -5-
petitioner and not the witnesses from the other villages as pointed out by the learned counsel for the petitioner. The guilt of the accused, if at all, has to be established at the trial and merely on the footing that the petitioner had initially absconded and therefore must be guilty of the offence, if presumed, it would lead to a miscarriage of justice. Hence, the petitioner shall be enlarged on bail subject to the following conditions:- The petition is allowed and the petitioner shall be enlarged on bail on his executing a self bond in a sum of Rs.50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand only) for a like sum to the satisfaction of the court below. The petitioner shall attend the court on all dates of hearing. The petitioner shall not seek to influence the prosecution witnesses or tamper with evidence. The petitioner shall not leave the jurisdiction of the court below without the prior permission of the court.