By LE Desk

Allahabad, March 21: Irrational and indiscriminate arrests are a gross violation of human rights, the Allahabad High Court has observed as it granted anticipatory bail to a person accused of abetting his wife’s suicide over alleged dowry harassment in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh.

“The courts have repeatedly held that arrest should be the last option for the police and it should be restricted to those exceptional cases where arresting the accused is imperative or his custodial interrogation is required. Irrational and indiscriminate arrests are gross violation of human rights,” Justice Siddharth said in an order dated March 17, The Hindu reported.

The case relates to an FIR registered at Sipri Bazar police station in Jhansi under Sections 498A, 323, 306 and 506 of the IPC and and Section 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.

In the Joginder Kumar v. State of Uttar Pradesh case 1994, the Supreme Court had referred to the third report of National Police Commission where it was mentioned that arrests by the police in India is one of the chief source of corruption in the department, the court said.

The report suggested that, by and large, nearly 60% of the arrests were either unnecessary or unjustified and that such unjustified police action accounted for 43.2% of expenditure of the jails, Justice Siddharth further said.

The accused person in the Jhansi case, Dharmendra approached court praying for grant of anticipatory bail as he had apprehension that he could be arrested by police any time.

It was alleged that his wife took her life by hanging because of harassment for demand of dowry. The petitioner was also accused of being a habitual gambler and drunkard who lost money in gambling and had also sold his wife’s jewellery.

The petitioner’s counsel said the incident took place on December 5, 2020 and on December 9, the man’s father submitted an application to SSP Jhansi that after his daughter-in-law’s death members of her paternal family came to his house and took away their jewellery and cash and threatened to implicate him in a criminal case.

When it came to the knowledge of the woman’s family, they lodged a false FIR with ulterior motives, the petitioner’s counsel said. The marriage of the petitioner with the deceased took place in the year 2004 and it is not credible that on account of demand of dowry, she committed suicide, the counsel further argued, rejecting the allegations of abetment.

The additional advocate general opposed the anticipatory bail of the petitioner, submitting that the charges against him were serious and that his apprehension of arrest was not founded on any material on record but on the basis of imaginary fear.

While granting Dharmendra anticipatory bail, the court noted that there was no definite period fixed for the police to arrest a person after filing of FIR.

“Personal liberty is a very precious fundamental right and it should be curtailed only when it becomes imperative. According to the peculiar facts and circumstances of the peculiar case the arrest of an accused should be made,” the court said.

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