Says crime against women is rising on an alarming scale and releasing the accused would send a wrong signal to society
Srinagar: A court here has rejected bail to husband, mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law of a woman who told police before her death in October last year that she self immolated herself over unabated torture by in-laws from Kawa Mohalla Khaniyar in Srinagar.
The victim, Mahjabeena Akhtar, originally a resident of Ishber Nishat, had set herself on fire on 25 October last year and later succumbed to burn injuries at a hospital.
“(In the dying) statement made by the victim and as per the statement of witnesses, it has been revealed that her husband Mohammad Rafiq Sofi and her in-laws used to torture (her) physically and mentally and their attitude and behaviour towards the victim has been always cruel, harassing and aggressive due to which she self immolated herself in the house of in-laws and succumbed to burn injuries,” additional public prosecutor Mohammad Amin Tibet Bakal stated in his objections to the bail plea filed by the Mohammad Rafiq Sofi, his mother Fatima and two sisters Jameela Akhtar and Saleema Akhtar.
Although married nine years ago, the APP told the court, the victim had been staying with her parents for most of the time because of “harassment and torture” and had returned to her husband’s home on 9 January 2013 after the local Mohalla committee had brokered a settlement.
“Even then she used to be tortured which forced her to end life on the day of Eid festival.”
Counsel for the accused MA Pandit submitted that Saleema was a chronic heart patient and Jameela is suffering from kidney problems and had to undergo dialysis while their mother, Fatima, is an old lady.
He said all the accused were ‘falsely implicated’ and that it’s settled law that an accused is always presumed to be innocent until proven guilty during the trial.
“The continuous detention of the accused has physically and psychologically depressed them to a great extent and if they were not released on bail they will collapse,” he said, adding that three of the accused are women and under provisions of Cr.Pc section 497 deserved to be enlarged on bail.
Advocates Bashir Sidiq, who along with advocate Farah Shah appeared for victim’s family, said that he strongly opposed the bail, underscoring that it was not an ordinary but the crime against the society.
“It is a horrendous crime which actually disrupt the entire social fabric,” he said.
After hearing all the parties, the court of Ist Additional Session Judge Srinagar ruled that they do not deserve bail.
“It has been found that crime against women is rising on an alarming scale and in case it is not checked it would have far reaching consequences,” the judge, Madan Lal, said.
It is also settled law, the judge said, that in non-bailable offences the accused cannot claim bail as a matter of right.
“Since the accused persons are alleged to be involved in commission of offence under section 498-A and 306 RPC which is heinous in nature, giving the concession of bail at this juncture would give a wrong signal to the society at large and encouragement of wrongdoers,” the judge said.
Referring the contention about the illness of the accused, the judge said: “It has also been seen that the moment a person is arrested in a heinous offence, he takes numerous grounds for seeking bail as in present case the accused persons have taken pleas regarding their ill health.”
The court said that it was the duty of the state to take care of its citizens if they are behind the bars and authorities are supposed to give best treatment to them.
“In my opinion the nature of offence committed by accused persons, they do not deserve any concession of bail,” the court said and dismissed the application for the bail.