February 11, 2021 8:54:50 pm
The Bombay High Court recently refused pre-arrest bail to three of the 16 accused from an Uttar Pradesh-based family, booked for allegedly administering a ‘harmful drug’ to a newlywed daughter-in-law and then raping her, among other charges.
Observing that the High Court had earlier refused to quash the FIR against the family, the court on February 8 refused anticipatory bail to the father-in-law of the woman and his two sons, including the victim’s husband, and held that the offences against them were serious and required custodial interrogation.
A single-judge bench of Justice Sarang V Kotwal, on February 8, passed an order on anticipatory bail pleas of the woman’s father-in-law, along with his two sons, who were booked by police on June 6, 2020
The woman, in her FIR, had stated that in 2019, when she was residing in her parental home, she was pressured for dowry by her then future in-laws. Due to such threats, her father paid nearly Rs 20 lakh in cash on July 6 that year, after which the wedding took place on July 8, 2019.
As per the FIR, after their marriage in 2019, her husband refused to have any physical relation with her and that is when she came to know that was being treated for impotency. The complainant said the demand for dowry continued even after her marriage and on January 22, 2020, her father-in-law, husband and brother-in-law entered her room and overpowered her.
It is alleged that the father-in-law, who is also a medical practitioner, gave her some injection against her will, while his two sons held her down, after which the father-in-law raped her.
According to the woman, she was sent to her parental home later that month and her parents were told that unless dowry demands were met, she would not be taken back to her matrimonial house. Subsequently, she came to Mumbai in March 2020 and informed her sister about the ordeal she had to endure, which led to the lodging of the FIR in June 2020.
After hearing submissions, Justice Kotwal observed, “At this stage, it is not possible to observe that the informant’s allegations are false, just because the FIR is lodged after some delay. In such cases, delay in lodging the FIR can be explained by the victim. But that has to be considered at the time of trial. This is the stage of anticipatory bail. Gravity of the offence cannot be overlooked.”
The bench also observed that as the woman was injected with a ‘harmful’ substance, there were allegations of demand and acceptance of dowry, and to find details of medical treatment of the husband and alleged suppression of such facts, custodial interrogation of applicants was necessary.
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