The Supreme Court on Saturday quashed a non-bailable warrant and granted pre-arrest bail to a Dalit man who married an upper-caste woman and is facing a case of abducting her. A bench of Justice Surya Kant and Abhay S Oka directed to release the accused man from Jharkhand on pre-arrest bail subject to his joining and fully cooperating with the investigation.
The court has directed him to appear before investigating officer on September 3. “In our considered view, subject to the petitioner joining and fully co-operating with the on-going investigation in the FIR…it is not a case where non-bailable warrants ought to have been issued against the petitioner. Consequently, the Special Leave Petition is allowed. The non-bailable warrants are quashed,” the court stated.
In April, Supreme Court granted protection from arrest to the same man in cases filed against him allegedly on behalf of his wife. “Issue notice to the newly added respondents, returnable on 22.08.2022,” the court said adding that the interim order dated 11 April 2022 to continue till the next date of hearing.
Earlier, the apex court granted interim protection from arrest to the man. Countering his submission, Jharkhand Police has filed its reply urging the court to dismiss the petition filed by the man. Jharkhand Police has accused the man of abducting a woman to compel her to marry and criminal intimidation. The police alleged that the accused, with other people, have abducted the woman and forced her to marry him.
The petitioner was represented by advocates Utkarsh Singh and Sureshan P. The apex court was hearing the petition challenging the judgment of the High Court of Jharkhand dated March 22, which dismissed the man’s plea against non-bailable warrants and proceedings under section 82 CRPC against him in connection with a case under Section 366 (abducting, woman to compel her marriage) of Indian Penal Code and others.
The Jharkhand High Court had directed him to appear in the concerned court after state Police opposed his plea and submitted that he is evading arrest. The petitioner has claimed that he had been the victim of caste prejudices and social-administrative discrimination.
“The case elucidates that the society is yet not ready to accept a Dalit son-in-law and will go to any extent to abuse the process of law to thwart an inter-caste marriage. The boy belongs to a lower community while the woman is from an upper caste and they have registered their marriage before the Magistrate in Dehradun, Uttrakhand on August 10, 2021,” the petition read. Meanwhile, according to the lawyer for petitioner Utkarsh Singh, this is a classic case and embodiment of the atrocities borne by inter-caste couples and people who support them in defying social norms by performing an inter-caste marriage and the petitioner is one of many everyday victims of the same as well as non-compliance of the judgment of Shakti Vahini vs Union of India.
The petitioner’s lawyer said that after the solemnization of their marriage, the petitioner was living with his legally wedded wife in Himachal Pradesh but at the midnight of August 12-13, six individuals broke into their house in Police uniforms and assaulted them. After the assault, the petitioner was left unconscious and the wife of the petitioner was forcibly taken away at midnight, the petitioner’s lawyer said. According to the petition, the wife of the petitioner was taken away in the presence of Himachal and UP Police officials. The man filed a complaint with the Himachal Pradesh police and later moved the High Court of Himachal Pradesh with his Habeas Corpus plea to produce his wife. Later the Himachal Pradesh Court was apprised that a case under charges dealing with abduction has been lodged against the man, his father and others in Jharkhand.
Earlier, on November 23, 2021, a local court in Jharkhand issued a non-bailable warrant against the man. The man then moved his anticipatory bail in a District Court in Jharkhand which was dismissed. He later challenged the same in Jharkhand High Court but his anticipatory bail plea was also rejected. The petitioner submitted that the Jharkhand High Court had dismissed the petition without considering the prima facie abuse of the law by the in-laws of the petitioner and ignoring the fact that the petitioner has committed no offence, he is falsely implicated in this case with mala fide intentions of destroying any attempt to pursue his inter-caste marriage.
“The petitioner is grossly aggrieved due to the arbitrary and unconstitutional actions of the respondent and in-laws of the petitioner who has grossly misused the entire system to their advantage depriving him the right to equal protection of laws, life and personal, ” the man said in his plea filed before SC. (ANI)
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