Read Order: Gurtej Singh v. State of Punjab

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, April 28, 2022: While dealing with a regular bail plea of the accused-husband whose wife committed suicide within eight months of their marriage, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has enlarged the petitioner- husband on bail, on the ground that owing to some past relationship, the deceased was under depression, repented the previous act and she took sole responsibility for ending her life in the suicide note.

The Bench of Justice Vivek Puri held, “(…) the unfortunate death took place within a period of about 08 months from the date of marriage but the material on record is indicative of the fact that the deceased had committed suicide on account of mental depression and she had specifically stated in the suicide note that no one should be held responsible for the death.”

Before the Court, Gurtej Singh (the petitioner) was seeking regular bail in the case FIR registered under Sections 304-B/34 IPC, 1860 at Police Station Bhadson, District Patiala. 

The concerned case was registered on the basis of the statement of Narang Singh, the father of the deceased alleging that his daughter committed suicide owing to the harrassment metted out against her by the accused-petitioner (her husband). The marriage between the deceased and the petitioner took place on November 22, 2020. There was a specific allegation to the effect that the petitioner made a demand for Rs. 1,00,000/- from the deceased and on account of her failure to meet this demand, she was harassed on that score. The deceased committed suicide on July 18, 2021. 

The case of the petitioner’s counsel was that the FIR was lodged on the basis of false allegations. It was contended that the deceased as well as her husband were working as government teachers and it could not be said that a demand of Rs.1,00,000/- was raised. Moreover, it was the Counsel’s case that an inquiry in the matter was also conducted wherein it was observed that the deceased was in relationship with another teacher prior to her marriage and she committed suicide on account of repentance and depression.

Furthermore, the Court submitted that the deceased also recorded a suicide note wherein it was specifically mentioned that she took this extreme step on account of her mental depression and that she was aware of the fact that her act was wrong. It was further mentioned that no one should be held responsible for her death and she was taking the decision of her own. 

On the hand, the State Counsel and counsel for the complainant opposed the bail application on the score that the death occurred within a period of 08 months from the date of marriage and there were allegations to the effect that the deceased disclosed with regard to demand of Rs.1,00,000/- to her father a day prior to the occurrence.

The State Counsel however, did not dispute the fact that after the conclusion of the investigation, the charge-sheet was presented against the petitioner and her mother. Three other family members were found to be innocent and the opinion of the handwriting expert on the suicide note was also procured wherein the Court noted was found to be in the handwriting of the deceased.

After considering rival submissions, the Court opined at the very outset that the unfortunate death took place within a period of about 08 months from the date of marriage but the Court observed that the material on record was indicative of the fact that the deceased committed suicide on account of mental depression and that she specifically stated in the suicide note that no one should be held responsible for the death. 

Moreover, the Court asserted, an inquiry in the matter further indicated that on account of some past relationship, the deceased was under depression and repenting the previous act.

Further, the facts that the petitioner was in custody for a period of 9 months and as of then no witness was examined and as such, conclusion of trial was likely to take some time, weighed with the Court. 

Thus, while opining that no fruitful purpose would be served by detaining the petitioner in further custody, the Court ordered the release of the petitioner on regular bail subject to his furnishing fresh bail bonds/surety bonds to the satisfaction of the concerned trial Court/Chief Judicial Magistrate/Duty Magistrate. Hence, the petition was allowed.

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