SRINAGAR: A Jammu and Kashmir court has recently denied bail to a man arrested for allegedly making dowry demands and failing to attend his wedding reception, which was scheduled four years after his nikah to the bride.
According to a police complaint, the man’s absence at the reception was due to alleged dowry demands made by his family, demands which were unmet by the bride’s family.
Additional Special Mobile Magistrate at Awantipora, Shahber Ayaz, while refusing bail to the groom and his father, expressed concerns about the potential impact of the case on society.
“The alleged incident has the potential to disrupt the social fabric and serve as a threat to moral values. I do not find any justification for the accused’s release, especially in a situation where public outcry and potential law and order issues exist,” the judge remarked.
As per the police and the bride’s account, the wedding reception, referred to as the “departure ceremony” in the order, was planned for September 2023 in Kashmir’s Awantipora, four years after the nikah took place.
The bride claimed that prior to setting the date for the reception, the groom had persuaded her to engage in a physical relationship since the nikah had already taken place. She believed him to be her husband and met with him accordingly, as stated in court.
However, on the day of the reception, the bride’s family was informed that the groom and his family would not attend unless they received Rs 20 lakh in cash and a car as dowry.
Consequently, the bride filed a police complaint, resulting in charges against the groom and his father for cheating (Section 420) and cruelty to women (Section 498-A) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as well as violations of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
The accused individuals contested these allegations and insisted that a false complaint had been made against them. They also noted that the alleged offences carried a maximum prison term of seven years. Therefore, they argued for their release on bail in accordance with the Supreme Court’s guidelines outlined in the Arnesh Kumar case.
While acknowledging the general principle that bail is the norm and detention the exception, the judge concluded that this case warranted an exception, citing the public outcry and the role of the accused’s arrest in maintaining peace in the area.
“In my opinion, the Arnesh Kumar judgment cannot be treated as a bail order or a magical solution to secure the accused’s release on bail,” the Court emphasised.
The court also noted that the case was still in the early stages of investigation and more severe charges could potentially be added.
In a related development, the complainant’s lawyer argued that the offense of rape might apply in this case, as the groom had allegedly persuaded the complainant to engage in a physical relationship on a “false promise of marriage.”
Considering these factors, the Court dismissed the bail application of the groom and his father.
Advocates Sheikh Mudasir, Irfan Javid, and Adil Nabi represented the bail applicants, while Additional Public Prosecutor Romisa Rasool represented the Jammu and Kashmir government. Advocates Zahid Hussain Dar and Syed Irfan Muhammad appeared on behalf of the complainant. (BarandBench)