punjab and haryana high court

Punjab and Haryana High Court: In a petition filed under Section 438 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (‘CrPC’) seeking anticipatory bail in a case registered for offence under Section 306 of Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) Gurbir Singh, J. granted anticipatory bail while directing the petitioner to join investigation as and when required by the Investigating Agency. The Court pointed out that it was debatable whether the petitioner played any role in complainant’s son’s suicide, and also clarified that a woman could not be forced to marry a person for having prior intimacy with him.

Factual Matrix

The First Information Report (‘FIR’) was registered at the instance of a father whose son was preparing for IELTS at a coaching centre in Ludhiana. The petitioner and complainant’s son met at the coaching centre, fell in love and wanted to marry each other. When the petitioner’s family came to know about the said fact, they gave an application against the complainant’s son in the police station, but the matter was mutually settled with the decision that the complainant’s son would not harass the petitioner, and the petitioner resiled from marrying him.

After the said instance, complainant’s son started remaining upset, stopped talking to his family, and on 9-03-2023, his son consumed poisonous substance and after switching from one hospital to another, he ultimately succumbed to death on 15-03-2023. A suicide note was recovered from his mobile phone and two handwritten pages showing that he ended his life since the petitioner refused to marry him.

Court’s Analysis

While perusing the history of facts in the instant case, noting the intimate relationship between the two which ignited dispute after involvement of family, and ended their intimacy from 27-02-2023 onwards. The Court highlighted that the overt act of complainant’s son was attributed to the petitioner, who was an unmarried girl, and no recovery was effected from her.

The Court suggested that custodial interrogation of the petitioner was not at all necessary. It further pointed out that from the suicide note, it could not be said that the petitioner ever came in contact with the complainant’s son after 27-02-2023. The Court acknowledged that the gravity of offence was one of the factors for grant or denial of concession of anticipatory bail, but it was debatable if there was any role of the petitioner which led to the complainant’s son’s suicide. The Court observed that “A lady cannot be forced to marry a person if she has earlier developed intimacy with him.”

Without getting into the merits of the instant matter, the Court allowed the instant petition since the petitioner’s interrogation was not necessary and directed her to join investigation whenever required by the Investigating Agency.

[Gurleen Kaur v. State of Punjab, 2023 SCC OnLine P&H 1453, decided on 24-08-2023]

Judgment by: Justice Gurbir Singh

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner: Advocate Naveen Sharma

For State: Deputy Advocate General Rohit Ahuja

For Complainant: Advocate Abhishek Khullar

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