K’taka HC sends district judge for training in exercising judicial discretion

The Karnataka High Court, in its order earlier this month, has directed that the Fifth Additional District and Session’s court Judge of Mysuru should be sent to judicial academy for training in exercising judicial discretion.

The judge has granted bail to three accused in a dowry death case in spite of vehement arguments and evidence against them. The High Court bench has cancelled the bail granted to the three.

A bench headed by Justice H.P. Sandesh, observed that the trial court failed to exercise judicial discretion and had passed perverse and capricious orders. “Since the orders are perverse and capricious, it requires interference by this court,” the bench observed.

The trial court has lost sight of the heinous offence that the lady, who was married in the year 2020 has lost her life within one year of marriage that too by burn injuries and the cruelty meted out to her in the matrimonial home. The lower court was also pulled up for ignoring the message sent by the deceased victim on the day of the incident, which is not less than a dying declaration.

The bench had issued the order on February 4, while looking into the petition filed by Sunil Kumar, a resident of Periyapatna of Mysuru district. He had petitioned against anticipatory and regular bail orders granted for his sister’s husband Manju, his father Rajanna and mother-in-law Shivamma.

Manju, the accused, had married Sunitha, the victim in 2020. Sunitha’s parents had gifted gold jewelry and cash of Rs 3.5 lakh. Manju started demanding Rs 6 lakh from his wife for construction of the house and sent her back. Her parents agreed to pay for installation of tiles for the new house and sent back their daughter.

However, they could not keep their promise due to crop loss. Manju had started torturing Sunitha mentally and physically. Meanwhile, Sunitha allegedly died of burn injuries on 2021, February 14. Piriyapattana police have registered a case of accidental death.

Later, Sunitha’s parents got a message sent by their daughter from her husband Manju’s mobile. In the message she stated that, if at all she is harmed, her in-laws and husband were to be held responsible.

Petitioner Sunil had lodged a case against the accused. The Periyapatna police had lodged a case under 498 A (dowry harassment), 340 B (dowry death).

The Fifth Additional District and Session’s court had granted anticipatory as well as regular bails to accused persons on March 23, 2021, April 4, 2021 and April 17, 2021.

While granting bail, the court said that there are no allegations against accused which would attract life imprisonment or capital punishment. The case has been lodged only after recovery of the message. It is to be identified that the message was sent by Sunitha or others, hence the bail was granted.

Even as the prosecution vehemently argued that the voice in the message is of the deceased person and if accused are granted bail they might destroy the evidence and though, it was brought to the notice of the court how deceased was harassed for dowry, the court did not consider any of it while granting bail.

Sunil had made an appeal to the High Court under CRPC Section 439 (2) and 482. The High Court looking into the petition opined that in a serious offence like dowry death, while granting bail to accused, the inquiring court has not used discretion.

“Registry is directed to seek appropriate orders from the Hon’ble Chief Justice to post the concerned Judicial Officer to the Judicial Academy for training with regard to applying judicious thought process while exercising judicial discretion before granting bail in heinous offences as observed by the Apex Court. The registry is directed to send a copy of this order to the Presiding Officer to make an endeavour to learn exercising of judicial discretion,” the order said.




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