Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Allahabad High Court grants bail to mother-in-law in a Varanasi dowry case

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The Allahabad High Court has granted conditional bail to a woman Phoolmati Devi, an accused in a Varanasi dowry murder case.

A single-judge bench of Justice Vivek Kumar Singh passed this order while hearing a Criminal Misc Bail Application filed by Smt Phool Mati. It has been contended by the counsel for the applicant that the applicant has been falsely implicated in the case due to ulterior motives.

It is next contended that the applicant is mother-in-law of the deceased. No specific role has been assigned to the applicant. Several other submissions in order to demonstrate the falsity of the allegations made against the applicant have also been placed forth before the Court.

The circumstances which, according to the counsel, led to the false implication of the accused has also been touched upon at length. It has been assured on behalf of the applicant that she is ready to cooperate with the process of law and shall faithfully make herself available before the court whenever required.

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It has also been submitted that the applicant is languishing in jail since November 2, 2021. It has been pointed out that the applicant has no criminal history.

The Courts have taken notice of the overcrowding of jails during the current pandemic situation (Ref: Suo Motu Writ Petition (c) No. 1/2020, Contagion of COVID 19 Virus in prisons before the Supreme Court of India). These circumstances shall also be factored in while considering bail applications on behalf of accused persons, the Court said.

“Having heard the submissions of the counsel of both sides, nature of accusation and the severity of punishment in case of conviction and the nature of supporting evidence, prima facie satisfaction of the Court in support of the charge, reformative theory of punishment, and larger mandate of the Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the dictum of Apex Court in the case of Dataram Singh v State of U.P and another, reported in (2018) 2 SCC 22 and without expressing any opinion on the merit of the case, I find it to be a case of bail,” the Court observed.

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The Court ordered that,

Let applicant- Smt Phool Mati, be released on bail in Case under Sections- 498-A, 304-B IPC and 3/4 D.P Act, Police Station- Cantt, District- Varanasi, on furnishing a personal bond and two sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of magistrate/court concerned, subject to following conditions:-

1. The applicant will attend and co-operate the trial proceedings pending before the court concerned on the date fixed after release.

2. She will not tamper with the witnesses.

3. She will not indulge in any illegal activities during the bail period.

The identity, status and residential proof of sureties will be verified by the court concerned and in case of breach of any of the above conditions, the court below shall be at liberty to cancel the bail and send the applicant to prison.

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