Delhi High Court: In a case where very serious allegations are made and 16 members from the same family are arrested, an under-trial woman prisoner sought bail, Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, J. grants interim bail for a period of three months since the petitioner is a pregnant woman and is expecting the delivery. It is premised on the principle that every pregnant female deserves the dignity enshrined under Article 21 during motherhood. However, the Court mandated that refusal is permissible in cases of high security risk.
FIR was registered under Sections 363/367/368/326/307/506/34/120-B Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC') on the statement of injured/victim Raman who had performed marriage with Menka (another victim/injured) against the consent of her parents on 21-12-2021. However, family members of the wife of the complainant abducted the victim and his wife on 22-12-2021 and after brutally beating him up, his private part was amputated with an axe, and he also received stab injuries. Further, the complainant was thrown in a drain from where he was rescued by his brother and was admitted to AIIMS Trauma Centre.
Thus, presently 16 members of the same family have been arrested while 3 of them are still absconding and 2 other family members have also been charge-sheeted without arrest. An application was preferred on behalf of the petitioner under Section 439, Criminal Procedure Code (‘CrPC') read with Section 482 CrPC for grant of interim bail for a period of six months.
The Court noted that the expected date of delivery of the petitioner is 25-08-2022 and the delivery facilities are not available in Central Jail Dispensary and the patient was referred to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital for delivery.
The Court noted that however it is required to give due weightage to the aspects like nature and gravity of the offence and the impact of such an offence committed on the society for consideration of bail. But pregnancy of a woman is a special circumstance which needs to be appreciated, as giving birth to a child while in custody, would not only be a trauma to the mother but also create an everlasting adverse impact on the child, whenever questioned about his birth.
It further noted that every pregnant female deserves the dignity enshrined under Article 21 during motherhood. The Court is expected to take note of the interest of a child, who is not expected to be exposed to prison, until and unless there is a grave danger in releasing the petitioner on bail.
The proviso to Section 437(1) CrPC provides that the condition of not releasing a person on bail charged with an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life shall not be applicable, if such person is under the age of sixteen years or is a woman or sick or infirm subject to such conditions as may be imposed.
Rule 1459 of Delhi Prison Rules. 2018 provides that as far as possible (provided the prisoner has a suitable option) arrangements for temporary release (or suspension of sentence in the case of a casual offender) will be made to enable a prisoner to deliver child in a hospital outside the prison. Only when there is high security risk in the case of any particular woman prisoner, the facility to deliver child outside the prison shall be denied.
Thus, the Court held that since the petitioner is a pregnant woman and is expecting the delivery, she deserves to be enlarged on interim bail for a period of three months from the date of release on furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs.20,000/- (Rupees Twenty Thousand Only) with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the learned Trial Court/MM/Duty MM.
[Kajal v. State, Bail Application No. 2286 of 2022, decided on 18-08-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Rakesh Kr. Pant, Advocate, for the Petitioner;
Mr. Laksh Khanna, APP for State with SI Jarnail Singh, PS Rajouri Garden, Advocates, for the Respondent.
*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.