SC seeks explanation from Bihar DGP and Registrar General, Patna HC for the delayed action in a 21-year-old dowry death case.

The Supreme Court observed that a contract is void if prohibited by a statute under a penalty, even without express declaration that the contract is void

The Supreme Court asked the Director General of Police and the Registrar General of Patna High Court to explain the reasons for their delayed action in arresting the accused of a 21 year old dowry death case.

The FIR (First Information Report) was registered by the deceased brother on 02.02.1999 against the Petitioner and some of his relatives under section 304B, 201 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The brother of the deceased alleged that she was harassed by her husband and his family for dowry. Moreover, he was informed by an unknown person about his sister’s death. Her last rites were performed without any information to the deceased parents and other relatives.

After around 10 years, a charge sheet was filed against all the accused named in the FIR on 30.09.2009.

According to the final report:

“Sufficient evidence has been made available for charge sheet against all the accused named in the FIR”.

Additionally, an order passed by the High Court while dismissing the petitioner’s anticipatory bail application on 14.02.2020 noted that, as per the case diary:

A very highly poisonous substance was detected in the viscera examination of the deceased”.

The bench comprising of Justice NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Aniruddha Bose while considering the petitioner’s SLP (Special Leave to Appeal) stated that:   

“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 further stated that:

Despite the seriousness of the allegations, it is quite alarming that no actions were taken by the police against the petitioner”.

While dismissing the bail plea, the court issued notice to the Director-General of Police, Bihar, and the Registrar General of the Patna High Court with a direction to place before the court a report about the case, particularly with regard to the reasons behind such inordinate delay.

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