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Rajesh Lal vs State Govt. Of Nct Of Delhi on 14 June, 2021

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* IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
+ BAIL APPLN.2979/2020

Judgment reserved on : 22.03.2021
Date of decision : 14.06.2021

RAJESH LAL ….. Applicant

Through: Mr. Niraj Jha, Adv.

Versus

STATE GOVT. OF NCT OF DELHI ….. Respondent

Through: Mr. Kewal Singh Ahuja, APP
for State with Investigating
Officer Ms. Aka Singh, Adv.
for complainant

CORAM:
HON’BLE MS. JUSTICE ANU MALHOTRA

JUDGMENT

ANU MALHOTRA, J.

1. The applicant vide the present application has sought the grant
of regular bail in relation to the FIR No.42/2020, PS Sonia Vihar,
under
Sections 304B/498A/34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which
FIR is indicated to have been registered on 29.02.2020. The applicant
is the spouse of the deceased and was married to her on 30.10.2019 at
the Rosary Church Kingsway Camp, Delhi according to the Christian
rites and ceremonies. The applicant contends that it was a simple
marriage performed without any demand of dowry and that there was

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no dowry demand made by the applicant’s side neither before the
marriage nor after the marriage.

2. The applicant further submits that there was only a moderate
gathering in the marriage. The applicant further submits that his
spouse Maclina was suffering from a mental disorder namely
somniloquy i.e. sleep talking disorder and she often used to scream
during her sleep. The applicant further submits that the family of the
deceased had not disclosed of this mental disease of the deceased to
the applicant’s family before the marriage of the applicant to Maclina
(since deceased)

3. According to the applicant, because of the mental illness,
Maclina was unable to behave normally and was reluctant to engage
herself with the family members of the applicant and was unable to
take part in post-marriage rituals and confined herself often in her
room and was reluctant to come out despite requests of his family
members. The applicant further submits that whenever he asked the
deceased about the details and reasons for her disorder, she used to
become angry and sometimes furious and sometimes used to throw
household articles. The applicant further submits that he had made
enquiries from the brother of the deceased Godson, who had told him
that the deceased was suffering from depression and was taking the
treatment from their family doctor before marriage. The applicant
submits that on 07.11.2019, the complainant that is an apparent
reference to the father of the deceased named Shri Jerome George, s/o
Shri Max Well George visited the applicant’s house on the request of
the applicant and that the applicant and his mother had told the

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complainant about the unnatural behavior of Maclina, on which, the
complainant i.e. the father of Maclina requested the applicant to send
her to her parental home after every 15 days as she was suffering from
depression. It is submitted by the applicant that the brother of the
deceased had also asked the applicant to send the deceased to her
parental home for getting treatment from their family doctor, to which,
the applicant had said that he would take the deceased to some good
hospital for treatment, to which, the brother of the deceased had
however refused.

4. The applicant further submits that in the first week of
December, 2019, Mr. Godson, the brother of the deceased had again
taken back the deceased to her parental home for treatment and at that
time, the applicant discussed/ enquired from the deceased about her
episode of panic and sleeping disorder again. The applicant submits
that on 04.01.2020, there was a wedding of the applicant’s relative but
that the deceased refused to go for the same and that the applicant had
dropped her at her parental home and that when the deceased was
there, the brother of the deceased Mr. Godson had got her treated from
a doctor named Dr.D.K. Gautam and when the deceased had come
back, Mr. Godson had handed over the prescription related to the
deceased to the applicant and had also handed over the additional
medicines which the applicant had refused to administer to the
deceased. The applicant submits that the medicines prescribed by Dr.
Gautam were Vernol and Zapiz which are meant for depression and
panic attacks. The copy of the prescription of Dr. DK Gautam was
submitted by the applicant along with the application. It has been

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submitted through the application that around 26.01.2020, the
deceased was feeling restless and uneasy and that the applicant for the
same took her to the Institute of Human Behavior Allied Sciences
(IHBAS), where the doctor prescribed her medicines i.e. Ibuprofene
and Zolphibem for removal of uneasiness and that when the brother of
the deceased came to know about this that the applicant took the
deceased to the IHBAS, he got angry with the applicant as he had
taken her without prior information to him, to which, the applicant
told him that Maclina was his wife and it was his duty to provide her
with the best medical treatment, to which, Mr. Godson had stated that
even if they got married the deceased with the applicant, they had not
sold the deceased to the applicant.

5. The applicant further submits that he informed of this incident
to his wife and she objected the manner of conversation by Mr.
Godson with the applicant, which was also reflected from the
transcript between the deceased and her younger sister Twinkle. It has
been submitted further by the applicant that in February, 2020, the
maternal uncle of the applicant named Chhote Lal was seriously ill
and was at the 4th stage of cancer, so the applicant’s mother used to go
to her native place at Jahangirpur, Jewar, Gautam Budh Nagar, UP to
take care of her brother and she was thus with him during most of
February, 2020. The applicant further submits that he requested his
wife (since deceased) to visit his ailing maternal uncle at Jahangirpur,
Jewar, Gautam Budh Nagar, UP along with the applicant in February,
2020 but she refused to go owing to her mental illness as she was not
ready to be embarrassed before the family of the applicant’s maternal

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uncle and thus the applicant along with his mother had again visited
his maternal uncle by dropping the deceased at her parental home on
11.02.2020.

6. It is submitted by the applicant that even after 11.02.2020 when
the deceased was residing with her parents, there was a smooth and
loving affection in existence between his wife and himself and they
remained in touch through social media and used to talk almost
everyday and that they were enjoying a romantic relationship and were
very affectionate to each other which the applicant submits would be
evident from the chats through whatsapp as well as Instagram
conversation between the deceased and the applicant besides certain
audio conversations.

7. The applicant further submits that his maternal uncle expired on
27.02.2020 and because of this, he along with his mother and other
family members had to go his native place to attend the burial and
other death related ceremonies. It is submitted by the applicant that in
the second half of February, 2020 the North-East Part of Delhi was
badly hit by the riots and thus it was not safe for the applicant to travel
and it was thought that the deceased should stay at her parental home.
The applicant further submits that on 28.02.2020 around 11:15pm, his
wife (since deceased) unfortunately hung herself to death at her
parental home and that the applicant was shocked to hear of the same
but his agony was enhanced when the brother and father of the
deceased did not permit him to join the last ritual and burial ceremony
and that instead of consoling him on account of the demise of his wife,
the father of the deceased i.e. the complainant made a false complaint

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to the police falsely alleging that they had given Rs.5 lacs to the
applicant at the time of the marriage along with certain other gold
articles and had spent around Rs.25 lacs in the marriage and further
alleged that the deceased was subjected to harassment and cruelty on
demands of dowry though it has been submitted by the applicant that it
is well known that dowry demand is not known in Christian Society.

8. The applicant further submits that the complainant had named
the applicant, his mother Smt. Pushpa Lal and sister Anjali Wadhva
and cousin sister Nidhi as accused and that Anjali Wadhwa was
granted interim protection by this Court vide order dated 29.03.2020
which continues and that the other co-accused Smt. Pushpa Lal and
Nidhi were likewise granted protection. The applicant’s prayer for
grant of anticipatory bail is indicated to have been declined by the
learned trial Court as well as by this Court vide order dated
28.07.2020 in Bail Appln.1601/2020. The applicant further submits
that after his prayer seeking grant of anticipatory bail was declined by
this Court, he surrendered on 06.08.2020 and was sent to judicial
custody on 07.08.2020 and has been incarcerated since then. The
applicant further submits that he is suffering from tuberculosis and he
is living with one kidney by birth and which would be reflected
through the medical documents and furthermore, this Court at the time
of consideration of the Bail Appln.16012020 had even directed the
police to submit the status report indicating the mobile call report
between the applicant and the deceased and the police had filed a
status report regarding the CDR of mobile numbers between the
applicant and the deceased. The application filed by the applicant

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before the learned trial Court seeking grant of regular bail is indicated
to have been declined vide order dated 01.09.2020.

9. The applicant further submits that he is a is a peace loving
citizen and there is no legal evidence connecting him with the
unfortunate suicidal death of the deceased Maclina and that the
allegations in the FIR do not bring forth any ingredients of the alleged
commission of offences punishable under
Section 498-A of the Indian
Penal Code, 1860 nor under
Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code,
1860 as admittedly the FIR does not speak of demand of dowry prior
to the marriage and it has been submitted by the applicant that it does
not appeal to a prudent mind that the person seeking the dowry would
not raise the demand of dowry prior to the marriage and would ask for
the same after the marriage. Inter alia the applicant submits that there
are no averments in the FIR in relation to entrustment of any Istridhan
of the deceased with the applicant and there is no allegation that the
applicant had misused the dowry articles and used the same for his
benefits.

10. Inter alia the applicant submits that the allegations in the FIR
are vague and there is no corroboration of the same through the
investigation conducted and that there is no specific date, time and
month of any dowry demand mentioned in the FIR. The applicant
further submits that admittedly the deceased had committed the
suicide in her parental home after 17 days of the separation of the
deceased and the applicant as on 11.02.2020, the deceased was
brought by the applicant to her parental home, which is admitted and
the deceased committed suicide on 28.02.2020 at her parental home

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and thus there remains no room of any cruelty or harassment by the
applicant. The applicant further submits that
Section 304B of the
Indian Penal Code, 1860, itself requires as necessary ingredients that
soon before the death of the deceased, she was subjected to cruelty or
harassment by the applicant or any relative of the applicant for, or in
connection with, any demand for dowry, which had not even been
remotely brought forth in the instant case.

11. The applicant further submits that the deceased was admittedly
suffering from a mental disorder i.e. somniloquy i.e. a sleeping talking
disorder, for which, she was getting medicines and it can be presumed
that the ailment/ disorder was around 30 years back and that chances
of the suicide by the deceased due to the mental disorder cannot be
ruled out. It is also submitted by the applicant that there was not a
single complaint that has been lodged by the complainant or the
deceased before any authority prior to the demise of the deceased and
that itself was an indication that there was no cruelty of any kind
meted out by the applicant to the deceased. It is submitted by the
applicant that the real reason for the false allegation levelled against
him was because he had taken the deceased to IHBAS for a proper
treatment, for which the family of the complainant was angry with him
as they did not want to disclose the mental disorder of the deceased as
that would create difficulty in the marriage of the younger sister of the
deceased.

12. The applicant further submits that he is the only son of his
mother aged 70 years suffering from several old age ailments and
there is no one to look after her and that all allegations levelled in the

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FIR are wholly false and that the contention of the complainant that a
sum of Rs.25 lacs was spent in the marriage of the deceased to the
applicant is difficult to believe as the status of the complainant was not
that he could spend such a huge amount. Inter alia the applicant
submits that there is no approximate link between cruelty, harassment
and the death in the instant case and thus there is no live link that
exists between the demise of the deceased and any allegations levelled
against him. The applicant has also submitted that the complainant had
taken the mobile phone of the deceased after 4 days of her marriage
and that no investigation in relation to that mobile number
8377873801 had been carried out by the Investigating Agency. Inter
alia the applicant has submitted that there are observations in the order
dated 28.07.2020 of this Court in para 26 in Bail Appln. 1601/2020,
which read to the effect:

26. During the course of the proceedings on 10.07.2020, in
as much as, the averments made in the petition were to the
effect that the petitioner had made no telephone call to the
deceased at all on 26.02.2020 as was also submitted vide
paragraph 8(xix) of the petition, as it was informed on
behalf of the State on 10.07.2020 in reply to a specific
Court query in relation to the CDR details of the mobile of
the deceased after instructions from the Investigating
Officer of the case that she has called for CDR details of
the mobile of the deceased and that the same would be
verified within a period of three days and the status report
thereafter dated 10.07.2020 was submitted by the State and
subsequently, the State also submitted the status report
dated 14.07.2020 under the signatures of the SHO, PS
Sonia Vihar, wherein, it was stated to the effect:-

“In continuation of earlier status report, it is
submitted the CDR of mobile number of deceased

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Maclina (9250603808) and petitioner Rajesh Lal
(9716461035) has been obtained. After CDR analysis
it has been found that petitioner talked on the mobile
of deceased Maclina on 26.02.2020 at 8.12 PM for
the time interval 95 seconds. Complainant of the case
Sh Jerome George has already stated in his statement
that on 26.02.2020, Rajesh Lal called her daughter
Maclina and her daughter said that I am coming to
you but Rajesh Lal said that if you come near me
then I will stab you with a knife.”,
it was thus contended on behalf of the State/respondent that
there were no circumstances or grounds whatsoever for the
grant of anticipatory bail to the applicant and that vide
order dated 04.07.2020 the learned ASJ-02 (N/E), KKD
Courts, Delhi, had not considered it appropriate to grant
the anticipatory bail to the applicant rightly.”

and it has been submitted by the applicant that no investigation had
been conducted by the police in relation to as to on whose name the
mobile number 9250603808 stood.

13. It is submitted further by the applicant that as per the status
report dated 14.07.2020 submitted to the Court and from the True
Caller App, the said numbers stand registered in the name of Guru Ji
Kalu and not in the name of the deceased and thus reliance in relation
thereto cannot be placed on the status report of the IO.

14. The response of the State through its status report dated
11.11.2020 indicates that the charge sheet under
Sections
304B/
498A/34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, was filed on
04.10.2020. Apparently, the investigation in the matter is complete.
The status report and the copy of the charge sheet placed on record
indicates that the complainant i.e. the father of the deceased had

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alleged through the FIR that he had given a sum of Rs.5 lacs in cash, a
gold chain for the groom, one gold ring and one watch and, one gold
chain and one gold ring to the groom’s mother and he had also given
his daughter Macklina one gold necklace, 2 gold rings, 1 gold chain, 2
sets of tops, 1 pair of gold kundals, 1 set of anklets and one set of
toerings, apart from furniture items, cupboard, refrigerator, washing
machine, AC, LED TV, microwave, a set of 101 steel utensils, a set of
51 steel utensils and clothing as dowry and gifts to all guests and he
had also been given a sum of Rs.25 lacs in the marriage. The
complainant had alleged that despite having given so much dowry to
his daughter’s husband i.e. the applicant, her mother-in-law, sister-in-
law Anjali and the applicant’s aunt’s daughter Nidhi started taunting
his daughter and used to ask her to get gold jewellery for everyone, a
refrigerator and money for enabling Rajesh Lal i.e. the applicant
herein to start a business and when his daughter refused to get dowry
then they used to beat her and that they were all involved in beating
her and they used to lock his daughter in a room and did not give her
food. The complainant had alleged further through the FIR that his
son-in-law the applicant had beaten his daughter in relation to the
dowry and dropped her daughter at his house and all this had been told
to him by his daughter, after which the son of the complainant Mr.
Godson had made the applicant understand and on 13.01.2020, Mr.
Godson had dropped Maclina at her matrimonial home but even
thereafter, the spouse kept demanding dowry and on 11.02.2020, all
four of them had dropped his daughter at his house at Sonia Vihar.
The complainant had alleged through the FIR that when Mr. Rajesh

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Lal, the applicant came to drop his daughter, he tried to make him
understand that he was unable to give any more dowry but the
applicant did not listen to him and had left and on 26.02.2020, the
applicant had called his daughter and when her daughter told him that
she was coming to him, the applicant said that if she came near him
then he would stab her with a knife and after this, his daughter started
staying silent. Inter alia as per the FIR, on 28.02.2020, he was sitting
with his daughters on the first floor when his daughter said that she
was going to take a bath and it was around 11:45 at that time and
when his daughter did not come back after half an hour, he went with
his younger daughter Twinkle George to the 2nd Floor and when he
reached there he saw that his daughter Macklina had committed
suicide by hanging from the ceiling hang with the help of a stole and
he had got her down with the help of his daughter Twinkle after
cutting the stole and had called his son Godson and asked him to come
home and his son came home after 20-25 minutes and made a PCR
call.

15. The State has further submitted that during the course of
investigation, the statements of other family members of the deceased
i.e. her brother Godson and sister Twinkle were recorded, who
corroborated the statement of their father Mr. Jerome George. The
statement of Md. Akhtar, s/o Abdul Jabbar, a family friend was
recorded who had also stated that Maclina had told him that her
husband Rajesh was pressurizing her to do the job and likewise Vimal
Joshi, W/o Kailash Chand, a neighbour, had also stated that Maclina
had told her that she was not happy with her marriage as her in-laws

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are demanding dowry. It is submitted by the State that the post-
mortem collected from the GTB hospital showed that the death was
due to asphyxia as a result of antemortem hanging.

16. The State further submits that during the investigation, the CDR
of the mobile number of the deceased Macklina, number 9250603808
and the accused Rajesh Lal number 9716461035 had been obtained
and after CDR analysis it has been found that applicant had talked to
the deceased on 26-02-2020 at 08.12pm for the time interval of 95
seconds and that the complainant in his statement had also stated that
on 26-02-2020, Rajesh Lal had called his daughter Macklina and his
daughter told him that she was coming to him but the applicant said
that if she came near him, he would stab her with a knife. It is also
submitted by the State that the phone used by Maclina had been sent
to the FSL for establishing the details of the conversation between
Maclina and the accused Rajesh Lal and that the FSL result was
awaited and the bills articles of dowry and furniture were also reported
to have been verified by the Investigating Agency inclusive of the bills
regarding the marriage party at Signature Garden as well as the aspect
of Maclina having been taken by her husband to IHBAs for a check up
on 27.01.2020 29.01.2020. The State has vehemently opposed the
prayer made by the applicant seeking grant of regular bail.

17. Written and oral submissions were made on behalf of either
side. The applicant submits that the factum that the complainant even
after the incident on 28.02.2020 when he found that his daughter had
hung herself did not call the Ambulance and rather called his son who
came after 25 minutes and called the PCR and not called the

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ambulance, reflected against the veracity of the prosecution version. It
has been submitted by the applicant that the height of the deceased
was 5 feet as per record and the height of the floor with the roof was
not mentioned and that the same thus brought forth the improbability
of the commission of the alleged suicide. The applicant submits
further that it could not have been ruled out that no noise had been
made in the room where the suicide was committed it was not heard
by the complainant and his daughter and it has been thus submitted
that the entire prosecution version is faulty and defective and one
sided especially as the factum of the deceased suffering from
somniloquy is brought forth through the record as also the aspect of
her suffering from depression. It is submitted by the applicant further
that in as much as the charge sheet has been filed, there is no scope of
his tampering and influencing the prosecution witnesses and no useful
purpose would be served by his continuous incarceration in as much
as he is languishing in jail since 06.08.2020.

18. On a consideration of the submissions that have been made on
behalf of either side, the factum that the deceased hung herself on
28.02.2020 i.e. within seven (7) years from the date of her marriage
which is 30.10.2019, in terms of
Section 113A of the Indian Evidence
Act, 1873, the requisite adverse presumption in terms of
Section 304B
of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 has essentially to be drawn against the
applicant at this stage especially as the complainant has averred
categorically to the effect that the applicant had made a phone call to
the deceased on 26.02.2020 at 8:12 pm, which has been verified as per
the CDR details of the mobile number 9250603808 and of the

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applicant 9716461035 and qua which, the complainant had also stated
in his statement on 26.02.2020, the applicant had called his daughter
and when his daughter told him that she was coming to him, he said
that if she came near him, he would stab her with a knife, are aspects
which cannot be overlooked. The aspect of the deceased suffering
from depression that is sought to be brought forth by the applicant
cannot presently at this stage be considered enough to hold that the
deceased had committed suicide due to any act of depression and not
because of the alleged maltreatment and cruelty meted out to her by
the applicant for dowry demands. The contention of the applicant that
there is no live link between the alleged dowry demand and the demise
of the deceased on the date 28.02.2020 presently without the cross
examination of the witnesses of the prosecution cannot be determined
and as observed hereinabove, the conversation between the applicant
and Mr. Godson, the brother of the deceased indicate very strained
relations between the applicant and his in-laws family and
furthermore, the statement made by the neighbours of the deceased
also indicate allegedly that the deceased was not happy with the
relations with the applicant and his family members who used to
harass her for dowry demands and beat her for the same.

19. In the circumstances of the case, as observed hereinabove, the
requisite presumption in terms of
Section 113A of the Indian Evidence
Act, 1873 has essentially to be drawn against the applicant at this
stage in view of the demise of the deceased within seven (7) years
from the date of her marriage and thus it is not considered appropriate
to grant bail to the applicant. The bail application is declined.

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20. Nothing stated hereinabove shall however amount to any
expression on the merits or demerits of the trial.

ANU MALHOTRA, J.

JUNE 14th, 2021/vm

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