The Patna High Court on Wednesday granted anticipatory bail to three accused under the Daain Act. The petitioners were seeking pre-arrest bail in connection with Harsidhi P.S. case registered for offences punishable under Sections 447, 448, 147, 148, 149, 341, 323, 324, 307, 379, 504, 506 of the Indian Penal Code and 3/4 of the Prevention of Witch Practices Act (Daain Act).
As per the prosecution, the informant alleged that on March 30, 2020 at about 12 am, while he and his wife were sitting at the door of their house, villagers namely, Kunti Devi and Kuis Bin, abused his wife by calling her daiin and the accused persons, including the petitioners, assaulted his family members and snatched a silver chain from the informant’s wife.
Rashmi Jha, the counsel for the petitioners, submitted the petitioners have been falsely implicated in this case due to previous land dispute, both the parties are close relations. There is a counter case lodged by petitioner 1 (Kunti Devi), the counsel added.
Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, a single-judge bench of Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad observed that both parties are said to be close relations and there is land dispute between the parties and as per the FIR, 10 persons had indulged in the alleged assault and there is a counter case lodged by petitioner 1 against the present prosecution party giving a different version of the occurrence.
The Court further observed that it appears the alleged injuries said to have been caused to the prosecution party are simple injuries.
The Court directed that in the event of their arrest or surrender within a period of four weeks and let the petitioners above-named be enlarged on bail on furnishing of bail bond of Rs 25,000 each with two sureties of the like amount each to the satisfaction of Chief Judicial Magistrate, East Champaran at Motihari in connection with Harsidhi P.S. Case, subject to the conditions as laid down under Section 438 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
“And further condition that the court below shall verify the criminal antecedent of the petitioners and in case at any stage it is found that the petitioners have concealed their criminal antecedent, the court below shall take steps for cancellation of bail bonds of the petitioners. However, the acceptance of bail bonds in terms of the above-mentioned order shall not be delayed for purpose of or in the name of verification. This application stands allowed,”
-the order reads.
The Prevention of Witch (DAAIN) Practices Act, 2001, Jharkhand is intended to provide effective measures to prevent witch practices and identification of a woman as a witch and their oppression mostly prevalent in tribal areas and elsewhere in the Jharkhand and to eliminate the woman’s torture, humiliation and killing by society and for any other matter connected therewith or which are incidental thereto .
Sections 3 to 8 of the Act state the following :
Section 3: Identification of Witch (Daain): Whoever identifies any person as Witch (Daain) and does any act towards identification either by words, actions or manner shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 months or with a fine of Rs 1000 or with both.
Section 4: Damages for Causing Harm: Any person who causes any kind of physical or mental torture to any person by identifying her as a Witch (Daain) whether deliberately or otherwise shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 6 months or a fine of Rs 2000 or both.
Section 5: Abetment in the Identification of Witch (Daain): Any person or persons of society whether in identification of any women as a Witch (Daain) with an intention to cause harm by anyone to that person shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 months or with a fine of Rs 1,000 or with both .
Section 6: Witch (Daain) Curing: Whoever does any act of so-called healing allegedly or purportedly and of curing any woman said to be Witch (Daain) by doing any act of ‘ jhadphook ‘ or ‘ totka ‘ and thereby causing any kind of physical or mental harm and torture to that person identified as a Witch (Daain) in any manner shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year with a fine of Rs 2,000 or with both.
Section 7: Procedure for Trial: All offences of this Act shall be cognizable and non-bailable.
Section 8: Power to Make the Rule: The State Government may by notification in the official gazette, make such rules as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.