21 year delay in arresting dowry death accused, SC seeks explanation of Bihar DGP and HC Registrar General

The Supreme Court Thursday turned down the bail plea of a central government employee accused in the dowry death of his wife, even as it noticed that it had taken a record 20 years since registration of the FIR on 02.02.1999 for the police to arrest the accused.

Dismissing the bail plea, a bench led by Justice N V Ramana issued notice to the Director-General of Police (DGP), Bihar as well as the Registrar General of the Patna High Court with a direction to them to place before it a report about the particulars of the present case, particularly with respect to the reasons behind such an inordinate delay.

“Admittedly, the Petitioner is a Central Government employee working with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited. The flagrant delay in conducting the investigation and prosecution of the accused in connection with the serious crime involving the death of a young married woman is extremely troubling, and the reasons for the same are unclear”, the bench, which also comprised Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, said.

LtoR- Justice Surya Kant, Justice N V Ramana and Justice Aniruddha Bose.

The petitioner had married the deceased wife in 1993. As per the record of the case, the deceased-wife was allegedly harassed continuously by the petitioner and his family for dowry and was even thrown out of the house after they took her jewelry. The deceased apparently started living with the petitioner and his family again, consequent to an agreement prepared by the petitioner in Court.

The brother of the deceased, who is the complainant in the matter, alleged that he was informed by unknown persons about the death of his sister, whose funeral ceremonies were being completed by the petitioner and his family without informing the deceased’s side of the family

After nearly 10 years, a final report/charge­sheet was filed in the case against all the accused named in the FIR, including the Petitioner, on 30.09.2009. The final report noted that “sufficient evidence has been made available for charge­sheet against all the accused named in the FIR”.

On 14.02.2020, the Patna High Court dismissed the anticipatory bail application of the accused while citing the case diary that “very highly poisonous substance was detected in the viscera examination of the deceased”.

The Sessions Court and High Court also dismissed his regular bail plea against which he approached the Supreme Court.

Read the Order